When, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic, en route from Liverpool to
New York on her maiden voyage, crashed into an iceberg and sank,
1,635 persons were drowned. Ship owners were roused to action. A
commission met at Brussels and laid down trans-Atlantic routes for
steamships to follow. These routes were meant to take vessels south of
the dangerous iceberg zone.
For additional protection, Great Britain, and the United States
each contribute specially-equipped boats to form an iceberg patrol.
These vessels are constantly on duty in these hazardous waters. Small
bergs are broken up with explosives, so that they melt more rapidly.
When larger bergs are sighted their positions and drifts are wirelessed to
passing ships. Largely as a result of the patrol's work, no ship has been
sunk by an iceberg since the Titanic.
The third and main current of the Gulf Stream, curving slowly in
a northeasterly direction, moderates the climate of the British Isles and
northwestern Europe. The Gulf Stream's beneficial effects are partly
responsible for Scandinavia's ability to support a population of twelve
million. Lower Greenland, lying in the same latitude but untouched by
the Gulf Stream, is an uninhabitable wasteland. It is not the Gulf Stream
itself, however, but prevailing winds from the southwest which carry its
warmth to northwestern Europe. The winds are warmed as they pass
over the Gulf Stream on their way to land. Then, having fulfilled its
usefulness, the Gulf Stream flows into the Arctic Sea, where it cools and
merges into the southbound Labrador Current.