Page 1047
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
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

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962
Leonard Joseph Dwyer—A Complex Character
Reorganising the Bureau
Public Weather Services
Forecasts for the General Public
Importance of Radio Stations
The Advent of Television
Automatic Telephone Forecast Service
Wording and Verification of Forecasts
Services for Aviation
Atomic Weapons Tests
Atomic Weapons Tests—Mosaic G1 and G2
Atomic Weapons Tests—Buffalo 1, 2, 3 and 4
Atomic Weapons Tests—Operations Antler, 2 and 3
Atomic Weapons Tests—Minor Trials
Instruments and Observations
Radar/Radio Winds and Radar Weather Watch
Automatic Weather Stations
Meteorological Satellites
Tropical Cyclones
Bureau Conference on Tropical Cyclones
International Symposium on Tropical Cyclones, Brisbane
Design of Water Storages, Etc
Flood Forecasting
Cloud Seeding
Reduction of Evaporation
Rain Seminar
Cloud Physics
Fire Weather
Research and Special Investigations
International Activities
The International Geophysical Year
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean
International Symposium on Antarctic Meteorology
International Antarctic Analysis Centre
ADP, EDP and Computers
Management Conference
Services Conference
CSIRO and the Universities
Achievements of the Dwyer Years

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



Contact us

Atomic Weapons Tests—Buffalo 1, 2, 3 and 4

The four Buffalo atomic weapons were exploded at Maralinga but were of much lower yield than the Hurricane and Mosaic G2 tests. Buffalo 1, with a yield of 15 kilotons, was exploded from a tower on 27 September 1956. The atomic cloud reached a height of 37 500 feet; AWRE had predicted a height of 27 900 feet. Bob Southern reports that L. J. Dwyer was highly critical of the error in prediction and amendments were made to the procedure. Fallout was measured by Varsity aircraft for about 300 km from ground zero, by sticky paper and air sampling devices and in rainfall and water in reservoirs. Radioactivity was detected in areas of SA, NT, NSW and Queensland.

Buffalo 2, with a yield of 1.5 kilotons, was exploded at ground level on 4 October. Fallout from this test was difficult to measure because rain (correctly forecast) had washed sticky papers.

The fireball of Buffalo 3, yield 3 kilotons, dropped from an aircraft on 11 October, did not reach the ground, although the top of the atomic cloud reached 15 000 feet. Fallout was small although small amounts were measured in the Maralinga village and parts of NSW and Victoria.

Fallout from Buffalo 4, yield 10 kilotons, exploded from a tower on 22 October 1956, was detected over the whole of Australia north of a line joining Carnarvon, Adelaide and Canberra.

Ground zeros for these tests were spread over an area of 6 km at a distance of about 27 km north of Maralinga township.

Meteorological support for the Buffalo tests was provided by a team of Bureau meteorologists, led by Henry Phillpot, which included Allan Brunt, Errol Mizon, Bob Southern and about six observers making routine surface, radiosonde and radar wind observations. It is obvious that Len Dwyer had decided that the meteorological team needed more people. In earlier consultation with Sir William Penney he had also resolved to establish an upper air station (Giles) in the desert to the north of Maralinga within the line of a proposed rocket range from Woomera to the north-west coast of Australia.

People in Bright Sparcs - Brunt, Allan Thomas; Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Phillpot, Henry Robert

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

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