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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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Dynamic Meteorology I, II, III (continued)

My notes on Starr's lectures on Dynamic Meteorology III occupy 55 pages in my student's notebook, and although, like the notes of earlier lectures, they contain copious mathematical equations, they also have some remarks on the use of observational material to check the validity of the theories suggested. Starr had been involved with Willet in the use of observational data from the northern hemisphere to check his ideas on momentum transport in which he was specially interested. He suggested that there was a significant correlation between momentum transport and the strength of the zonal westerlies between latitudes 45 and 65 degrees four days later.

Starr also proposed that a similar study could be made of energy transports, pointing out that the total energy in the atmosphere would remain constant with the heat received from the sun being re-radiated to space.

The final lectures in Starr's Dynamic Meteorology III course were devoted to a review of the dishpan experiments, an example of which I was to see later in Dave Fultz's laboratory in Chicago. These experiments involved a study of the motion of fluid in the dishpan heated at the rim while the pan rotated. The motion relative to the pan was recorded by a camera mounted above, and rotating with the pan. These experiments showed pronounced similarities with the general circulation of the atmosphere at certain rates of heating and rotation of the pan.

I found Victor Starr's Dynamic Meteorology III lectures easy to follow and of great interest. I was impressed by his eagerness to have his theories tested by routine synoptic analysis and by comparison with the results of dishpan experiments. In retrospect I wonder whether his reference to the use of models related to the dishpan experiments of Pultz or to the work of Charney and Neumann in developing models which could be run on a computer. When I was a student at MIT computer modelling of the general circulation was in a very early stage and I cannot remember any reference to this work during the lectures on dynamic meteorology.

For me Starr's lectures were as absorbing as those of Hurd Willet and John Houghton. Those of Austin and Lorenz were valuable, as were those of Lettau described next. My interest in the subject of turbulence, which was the subject of the lectures by Lettau, was not great and their relevance to the knowledge I was seeking was small.

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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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