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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth
The First Three Decades
A Time of Rapid 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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The Struggle for Growth (continued)

A list of suitable research topics was put forward by the subcommittee for immediate investigation. Some of these topics were:
  • the motion of the air at high levels by mountain, kite and cloud observations;

  • the anti-trade (wind) downward (or southernmost) limits;

  • effect of southern distribution of ice on Australian weather;

  • climatological study in relation to (a) agriculture, (b) manufactures, (c) hygiene; and

  • analysis and classification of past Australian records.

The first of these subjects was not only a matter of importance in Australia, but had also long been of interest to researchers overseas, particularly in the United States and Germany, where research had been carried out since 1886 at least (Meteorological Council, 1900 [59]). This culminated in the International Meteorological Organization establishing the International Commission for Scientific Aeronautics in 1896, presumably as a means of standardising and encouraging work in this area. This Commission was renamed the International Commission for the Exploration of the Upper Air sometime after World War I (Platzman [64]), following the massive increase of interest in the topic by the military and the fledgling aviation industry.

The second topic revealed an interest in the effects of the monsoon, especially its rainfall, on the agriculture of south-eastern Australia, although there was little understanding of the physical dynamics involved. The third suggestion was a continuation of an earlier belief that the Antarctic had some influence on the Australian climate and provided further support for Sir Douglas Mawson's expeditions to the southern continent.

Bearing in mind the then relatively recent history of agriculture and manufacturing in this country, it is not surprising that the committee made the delineation of the local climate one of its early priorities together with an exploration of the link between climate and hygiene, a topic of discussion since the time of ancient Greece.

People in Bright Sparcs - Mawson, Douglas

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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

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