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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
The Struggle for Recognition
International Involvement
Local Cooperation
The Bureau Goes Solo

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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Research Within the Bureau (continued)

Following its work on the bedding down of the various techniques brought into practice during the war, the Research Section gradually shed these tasks to other newly created sections within Head Office. Its focus then shifted to such areas as the development of synoptic models for the Southern Ocean and the introduction of synoptic-scale prediction techniques into Australian forecasting (Gibbs [31]). This latter work saw a greater emphasis placed on the meteorologist's theoretical understanding and a corresponding discarding of the use of synoptic pattern recognition in the forecasting process. Thus, the worth of the meteorologist was enhanced at the expense of the technically trained forecaster, a pattern which has continued apace and which will eventually see the disappearance of the sub-professional forecasting staff.

Other work undertaken by research staff included the local application of overseas work in the areas of tropical cyclones, fronts, thunderstorms and other mesoscale phenomena. In 1955 Reg Clarke published an important paper in the Australian Meteorological Magazine, on the mechanism of the sea breeze, while working in the Air Mass and Frontal Analysis Section of the Bureau.

Australian research on the use of mathematical models in forecasting, or numerical weather prediction (NWP), began at the University of Melbourne in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Jenssen and Radok developed and tested a filtered barotropic model (a primitive model of the atmosphere which does not include the horizontal temperature gradients found in the real atmosphere) for the Australian region. At the Bureau, Ross Maine was working on his own version, which was subsequently run on the CSIRO'S computer in Canberra (Gibbs [34]). With the installation of the first of the Bureau's new IBM 360/65 computers in 1968, Maine was able to further test his early barotropic model and develop a new baroclinic version (a more sophisticated atmospheric model which includes some form of horizontal temperature gradient), which made its first real-time forecast in 1969 (Leslie and Dietachmayer [50]).

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Air Mass and Frontal Analysis Section (AMFA)

People in Bright Sparcs - Clarke, Reginald Henry; Maine, Ross

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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
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher