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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth

Chapter 2: Struggle, Competition and Emergence

Appendix 1: Meteorology Act 1906

Appendix 2: Meteorology Act 1955

Appendix 3: Simpson Report

Appendix 4: Survey Questionnaire

Appendix 5: Bibliography



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Introduction (continued)

With the change in times and directors, these attitudes have altered so that there is now an equal concentration on both physical and climatological research (although much more statistically based) and moves to devolve forecasting to the local office wherever possible. At the same time, the rise in the status of the Bureau has meant that government has had to take the work of the organisation much more seriously, especially in the politically sensitive field of climate change where research findings could influence the future direction of social and economic behaviour within the community.

Technological change has also had an impact on the work of the Bureau, in that it has allowed scientists to scrutinise the behaviour of the atmosphere more rigorously than ever before, especially since the 1940s. And finally, there has been the growth of international meteorology, in which the Bureau has often played a prominent role, using this to persuade sometimes reluctant governments to provide further support at crucial moments, in case Australia was seen to be failing in its international commitments.

This then is the history of research in the Commonwealth Government's oldest scientific institution, the Bureau of Meteorology, and its struggle to escape the obscurity of being a minor branch of government and become a regular participant in the national and international scientific community. In particular, I wish to explore the tensions generated by this transition from one form of institution to another and the impact these have had on the development of the Bureau and the other research groups working in this area.

  • More specifically, my questions will be:

  • what factors influenced the Bureau to make this transition?;

  • has the Bureau successfully overcome the difficulties posed by this process?; and

  • how have these changes impacted on other Australian research organisations?

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Gardner, J. 1997 'Stormy Weather: A History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 11 December 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

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