“Operation Titanic”: U.S. turns to satellite technology to detect icebergs

ByArlen Simpelo

Apr 19, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It was the “unsinkable ship” until finally it was not.  

10 minutes in advance of the maiden voyage of the Titanic finished in calamity, a radio operator aboard the nearby SS Californian signaled that there was an iceberg in the ship’s path. The warning was disregarded, and the massive collision that followed charge over 1,500 lives, prompting a wave of maritime improvements: sonar and radar navigation capabilities, lifeboat drills and the generation of the Global Ice Patrol (IIP.)

Now, 110 a long time just after the sinking of the Titanic, the U.S. authorities is creating a new technologies that is developed to detect and report icebergs to the maritime neighborhood.  

“Procedure Titanic,” spearheaded by the Division of Homeland Security’s Science and Know-how Directorate, will fuse satellite-centered radar imagery with ship reporting programs to help the U.S. Coastline Guard to establish glacial masses all through the North Atlantic Ocean in genuine time.  


Delivered by U.S. Coastline Guard

Floating icebergs like the one particular the Titanic struck on April 15, 1912, however pose navigational dangers currently for ships, oil rigs and military property, says Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, the DHS senior official undertaking the obligations of the beneath secretary for science and know-how, instructed CBS News.

“The Titanic really struck the iceberg at a latitude equivalent to the Massachusetts region,” Coulter Mitchell explained. “These of us in this mission house do not constantly notice just how far south, how prevalent the iceberg mission is.” 

The 16-human being IIP is funded by 17 nations bordering the trans-Atlantic, but is operated by the U.S. Coast Guard throughout ice period, from February via July.

The patrol at first relied on cutters deployed by the U.S. Coastline Guard to study icebergs but switched to aircraft checking right after World War II. Currently, the IIP pilots 9-day plane missions each and every two months.

Two customers of the Global Ice Patrol (IIP) drop a wreath at the web page of the Titanic collision.

Provided by U.S. Coast Guard

“Procedure Titanic” will mark a “total departure from [U.S. Coast Guard’s] many decades of flying fixed-wing aircrafts to track down icebergs,” said Coast Guard Commander Marcus Hirschberg with the International Ice Patrol. . 

  U.S. Coast Guard cutter patrols the North Atlantic.

Supplied by U.S. Coast Guard

“Aerial ice reconnaissance” routinely provides up to more than $10 million in annual expenditures for the U.S. Coastline Guard. Outside of the selling price tag, C-130J aircrafts that fly bi-weekly missions – roughly 500 aircraft hrs per year – are also the U.S. Coastline Guard’s most extremely sought right after aviation belongings.  

“We are likely to get a whole lot far more bang for our buck once we can use those plane hrs for catastrophe response, counterdrug functions, migrant operations and other areas,” Hirschberg additional. 

The U.S. govt has invested $4 million in “Operation Titanic” to day, with revenue drawn from the Science and Engineering Directorate’s Analysis, Progress and Innovation fund. 

And when equivalent technologies are now used by the U.S. federal government in rescue missions and flood response, the new satellite technological know-how – which will draw photos from the European Place Agency satellites, U.S. commercial providers and Canada’s RADARSAT Constellation – will be the first of its variety to access world wide satellite info. 

The satellite-based mostly radar imagery stays entirely operational in darkish, overcast disorders that generally reduce usual plane operations. Hirschberg referred to as it a “game-changer for forecasting the year.”

“When the Coast Guard arrived to us with this, the hope was to get over the challenges with [technology] that is immune to darkness and overcast, so we can see further more upstream of the transatlantic transport traces than we at any time have been before to difficulty more time-time period predictions,” Coulter Mitchell reported. 

“For forecasting, we’re hunting at icebergs that are way much North that we cannot reach with aircrafts, even traveling from St. John’s Newfoundland,” reported Hirschberg. 

“A good deal of instances there is certainly a mechanical difficulty with the airplane, inclement weather, or we can’t get the hangar doorway open since of significant winds. So we do lose a great deal of opportunities to fly,” he added. 

Glaciers in components of the North Atlantic are melting so swiftly that variations can be considered from space. The most up-to-date “Arctic Report Card,” published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), identified the location warms two times as quickly as the rest of the Earth, ensuing in the fast decline of ice cover.

“We see so a great deal period-to-year variability,” Hirschberg informed CBS News. “In 2019, we experienced 1,500 icebergs pass south of 48° North latitude – about exactly where the Titanic sank. In 2020, we experienced a solitary iceberg pass that limit.”

U.S. Coast Guard officers anticipate applying satellite photos will support the branch navigate modifications brought on by a reworking weather.

The Worldwide Ice Patrol is slated to take a look at-operate “Operation Iceberg” for two a long time, starting in 2023 before launching the application.