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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)

For actual operations, an up to date meteorological picture was required. At staff conferences in all headquarters it was the practice for the meteorological officer to give to staff officers an overall appreciation of the weather conditions prevailing over the area at the time, and to give his opinion of the developments likely to occur in the weather situation. To do this he had to have a complete reporting network and to be adept at analysis and prognosis of conditions over tropical areas. His position was one of considerable responsibility for his advice was taken into consideration when operations were planned. The meteorologist in the aviation meteorological office was required to provide specialised forecasts for a wide variety of purposes. Forecasts were required for long ocean flights such as the Perth-Colombo service, or for long reconnaissance flights to seaward. Bombing missions required forecasts of conditions expected to prevail over the target and on the flight to and from it—cloud cover often providing a useful shield against observation by the enemy.

However, it was not only to the Air Force that the meteorologist provided information. Mobile meteorological flights served with Army formations in the island campaigns to provide advisory forecasts for artillery, for movement and for landing operations on beaches. Conditions favouring and hindering air support and favouring and hindering air observations and offensive operations by enemy aircraft were kept under meteorological observation and reported to operational headquarters.

It is impossible in a few pages to describe the scientific developments in meteorology during the war. A vast amount of planning and organisation was necessary to produce a service which at the same time could fulfil the functions of providing routine services for the whole of the South-West Pacific area and make important contributions to the development of techniques of analysis and forecasting which have been applicable in postwar practice (as applied to the South-West Pacific). Extensive communication facilities were required, weather codes and ciphers had to be arranged for the confidential exchange of data, and many other organisational details had to be attended to before the service could function as a practising organisation.

The history of the scientific developments of the meteorological service during the war may be best summed up by saying that the service entered the war with the field of three dimensional analysis and forecasting in Australia almost wholly unexplored, but by the time the war had ended was using techniques of analysis and forecasting in its daily routines equal in efficiency to those of any meteorological service in the world. These techniques, which were adapted to local conditions largely as the result of local investigations by officers of the Australian service, form the basis for further investigations into atmospheric processes which should lead to an extension of the accuracy and scope of forecasts.

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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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