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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962





Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950

Chapter 2: International Meteorology

Chapter 3: The Timcke Years, 1950 to 1955

Chapter 4: A Year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Melbourne to Cambridge, Massachusetts
Long-range Forecasting
Synoptic Meteorology
Dynamic Meteorology I, II, III
Dynamic Meteorology IV
Physical Meteorology
Audrey Joins Me in Boston
Was it Worthwhile?

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962

Chapter 6: A Springboard for the Future

Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Reports, Papers, Manuscripts

Appendix 3: Milestones

Appendix 4: Acknowledgements

Appendix 5: Summary by H. N. Warren of the Operation of the Meteorological Section of Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane, 1942–45



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Long-range Forecasting (continued)

Willet told us that some investigators believed they had discovered evidence in the 200 year meteorological data-set of a 30-year periodicity in climate and that others considered climate varied in sympathy with the fluctuation in sunspot numbers having a periodicity of roughly 11 years.

He told us that investigators using the historical record claimed to have found evidence of significant climatic variations in the period 4000 BC to 1400 AD while others had attached significance to the periods of advance and recession of glaciers in more recent years.

Willet drew attention to suggestions that ice ages were caused by tectonic movements in the Earth's crust or by variations in the eccentricity of the orbit of the Earth around the sun, and variations in the axis of the Earth's rotation.

I admired the dispassionate manner in which Willet reviewed the evidence. He emphasised the considerable effort expended in investigating climatic fluctuations but avoided an over-optimistic assessment of the progress made in understanding these fluctuations.

His article on forecasting in the Compendium of Meteorology (Willet, 1951) is an example of his cautious approach in assessing the validity of the many theories on reasons for the various time scales of fluctuations in weather and climate. In 1951 his lectures emphasised that the methods of forecasting available to the meteorologist at that time were not likely to improve significantly until an observational program was established enabling synoptic analysis to be extended to a global scale. He suggested that such a program would require an international centre staffed by talented research workers, testing the validity of theories by using synoptic analysis on a global scale.

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Gibbs, W. J. 1999 'A Very Special Family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962', Metarch Papers, No. 13 May 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

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