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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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Commonwealth Meteorological Research Centre

A suggestion, in the original proposal, that the new Centre be named the H. C. Russell Research Centre was not accepted by Cabinet and has, apparently, not been raised since—something of a pity in view of Russell's pioneering efforts in Australian climatology.

The Centre's establishment followed some 18 months after the agreement between WMO and ICSU which ratified the GARP concept, and this was reflected in the specialities contained in the Centre's formal objectives, which were as follows (Gibbs and Priestley [35]):

  • The work of the Centre consists of studies of the behaviour of the earth's atmosphere, with emphasis on general circulation, directed towards improvement in the accuracy and timescale of weather forecasting, and towards improvement in understanding the distribution and variations in climate on the earth.

  • This includes the formulation and testing of numerical hemispheric models and the modelling of circulations of a more regional type. The approach to these problems will, as desirable, develop the interpretation and use of new forms of observational data.

It was agreed that the initial ten professional staff were to be recruited from CSIRO and the Bureau, with the Officer-in-Charge (Dr Tucker) and senior researchers coming from CSIRO (Tucker had transferred in the interim), and the meteorologists from the Bureau. Each group was to be employed under its own Act and to be paid and promoted accordingly.

Under the agreement the Bureau disbanded its only pure research group and those staff not transferred to CMRC were regrouped to provide climate and consultancy and research management services within the Bureau and liaison between the Bureau and the various international meteorological organisations. Overall management was to be in the hands of a Management Committee comprising the Director of Meteorology (Gibbs), the Chief of CSIRO Division of Meteorological Physics (Priestley) and the Officer-in-Charge (Tucker). However, the Bureau was responsible for housing the Centre and providing administrative (including computing) support on a day-to-day basis. Access to a computer was vital if the Centre was to achieve its ambitions of conducting research in the area of NWP, and the Bureau's growing inability to meet these needs, proved to be a major hiccup in its relations with the Centre over the years (Priestley [66]).

People in Bright Sparcs - Priestley, Charles Henry Brian (Bill); Russell, Henry Chamberlain; Tucker, Gilbert Brian

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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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