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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane
General Douglas MacArthur
We Join Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane
Ralph Holmes
Forecasting Procedure
WAAAFs and Other Staff
Briefing MacArthur & Co
Domestic Affairs
The Yanks Are Coming
Japanese Advance Across Owen Stanley Range
General George C. Kenney
Additional Staff
Staff Arrangements
Long Range Forecast
Investigations into Tropical Meteorology
Analysis Statements
MacArthur's Remarkable Strategy
A New Direction
Tropical Weather Research Bulletin
RAAF Command, Pat Squires and Henry Phillpot

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


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Radiosondes (continued)

We eagerly sought to use data from the newly-established radiosonde network. One application was the investigation of convective activity on a local scale, the detection of frontal and subsidence inversions and the study of the tropopause. This provided an immediate possibility of improving cloud and thunderstorm prediction. We plotted the available data on aerological diagrams to facilitate this application.

Another possible application was in the analysis of the distribution of pressure and wind patterns in the upper air. This needed a reasonable network of radiosonde stations and it was not until late in 1943 that this became possible. Our pilot balloon observations of upper wind were also relevant to this application, but their vertical extent was limited by visibility of the balloon which could be restricted by cloud, smoke or dust haze or (in the case of strong upper winds) low elevation angles which made balloon tracking difficult. Although some upper wind observations were obtained during the war by the use of military radar, this was a spasmodic source of information and it was not until 1948 that the Bureau was able to acquire and install a network of wind-finding radars.

The regular receipt of radiosonde information opened new vistas for Australian meteorologists. As early as 1914, Australian meteorologists had realised that upper air processes were likely to be significant in the development of conditions near sea-level, but they were hampered by the lack of sufficient upper air data. The introduction of the radiosonde saw the beginning of the use of electronic technology for remote measurement of the atmosphere. We began making routine analysis of upper air charts for 10 000 and 20 000 feet (later 700 and 500mb) in 1943.

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Gibbs, W. J. 1995 'A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 7 March 1995, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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