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Table of Contents

War History of the Australian Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: D.Met.S.—Australia's Wartime Weather Service

Chapter 2: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 3: Met in the Retreat

Chapter 4: Met in the Advance

Chapter 5: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 6: Central Forecasting Services

Chapter 7: Met With the Army

Chapter 8: Research and Personnel Training

Chapter 9: Instrumental Development and Maintenance

Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service

Chapter 11: Divisional Bureaux and Their Work

Appendix 1: List of Reports Provided by D.Met.S. for Advances Operational Planning and Other Purposes

Appendix 2: List of Service Personnel RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 3: List of Civilian Personnel Who Worked Together with Service Personnel of the RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 4: List of Locations at which RAAF Meteorological Service Personnel Served


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Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service (continued)

In the early stages of the war, and as the war progressed and the strength of the armed forces increased, the demand for meteorological staff became particularly heavy. The headquarters' training school trained university science graduates, and non-graduates of exceptional ability, in analysis and forecasting methods, a training which was and is not available anywhere else in the Commonwealth, and which is equivalent to a year's post-graduate training at a university. The teaching officers of the school had not only to maintain close contact with overseas developments but also had to incorporate in their courses any local developments within the service.

It has been mentioned that every officer in the field was engaged in work of a developmental character. It was the practising forecasters who tested the applicability of theories developed overseas to local conditions. The frontal theory was developed in Norway from a study of conditions in those high latitudes so it is not surprising that this theory was found to require considerable modification before it could be used in local analysis. Indeed, in the lower latitudes of Queensland and the Northern Territory and the area to the north of the continent, it was found that analysis based on frontal theory was unreal, and impracticable in application to operational needs.

Between the outbreak of war in Europe and the entry of the Japanese into the conflict in the Pacific, there was a steady development of the meteorological service, but immediately after the Pacific had become an active theatre of war, the development became more urgent and more rapid. The emphasis moved into the tropical areas and it was here that a large amount of research was necessary. Mainly because of the fact that the more developed parts of the earth's population are located outside the tropical zone, the meteorology of low latitudes had been studied by only a very few workers. It was soon found that the frontal theory could not be applied to low latitude conditions and it was necessary to devote original thought to the problem in order that reliable forecasts could be made. In 1943 a tropical research centre was established in the RAAF meteorological section of Allied Air Headquarters in Brisbane which made a special study of tropical problems, and later began the daily issue of an advisory statement of analysis over the western Pacific from Japan to northern Australia.

A Tropical Weather Research Bulletin was edited and distributed from this section to which a large number of meteorologists working at forward operational bases contributed. It thus served as a medium for the exchange of ideas between operational forecasters and did much to stimulate and assist the work of these men. It was widely circulated throughout the world and was described by one English authority as "one of the two outstanding contributions to tropical meteorology".

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Haldane, T. 1997 'War History of the Australian Meteorological Service in the Royal Australian Air Force April 1941 to July 1946', Metarch Papers, No. 10 October 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

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