While steam has been said to make a ship independent of wind and tide, it is still true that a long voyage even by steam must be planned so as to encounter the least resistance possible from prevailing winds and permanent currents, and this involves the application of oceanographical and meteorological knowledge.
The most important were: the Australian Antarctic expedition of 1911-4 under Sir Douglas Mawson; the Danish Oceanographical expeditions in the Mediterranean and adjacent seas of 1908-10; a short cruise made by Sir John Murray and Dr. Johan Hjort in the Norwegian Fishery exploring vessel " Michael Sars " in 1910, the general results of which were published as The Depths of the Ocean (1912) by the leaders of the expedition; and a short special cruise made by the " Scotia " in 1913 (after the loss of the " Titanic ") under the leadership of Dr. Matthews, which made observations upon the distribution of ice in the North Atlantic.
Its work is primarily that of the investigation of the fisheries of northern Europe, but its general methods are oceanographical, and its published results have formed an immense contribution to the science.
An entirely new project was an international survey of the Mediterranean and adjacent seas, from the fishery and oceanographical standpoints, by France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, but in 1921 no definite programme had been put in operation.
On the whole, oceanographical research was being taken up most actively in Europe, but much important work was also begun in America, for instance the fine hydrographical research in the Pacific by the Scripps Institute of the university of California.