Study suggests phenomenon known as sea smoke could have obscured deadly iceberg

14 April, 1912: the night was cold and clear and Violet Jessop, a nurse on board the Titanic, described “little wisps of mist like tiny fairies that wafted gently inboard from the sea”. Up in the crow’s nest the two lookouts, Reginald Lee and Frederick Fleet, also noticed the haze. Ten minutes later the call went out: “Iceberg! Right ahead…” and the fate of the doomed liner was sealed.

For more than a century the haze has remained unexplained, with some assuming it was a mirage and others dismissing it as imaginary. Arthur Rostron, captain of the rescue ship Carpathia, reported that he “never saw a clearer night”. Now a new study, published in the journal Weather, suggests that the haze was probably a localised phenomenon known as “sea smoke”.

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Read More Weatherwatch: did ‘sea smoke’ obscure the Titanic iceberg?

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