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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

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



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Atomic Weapons Tests—Minor Trials

The designation of 'minor' trials was most unfortunate in that they were to impose significant long-living radioactive contamination in the areas in which they were conducted.

The report of the Royal Commission indicates that these trials were conducted at Emu Field and Maralinga in 1953 and 1954 and at Maralinga in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1963. Although the AWTSC had responsibility to see that they were conducted without risk to the Australian population it appears that the designation minor persuaded the AWTSC to nominate the meteorologists present in support of the 'minor' trials as their representative. G. U. Wilson and Bob Southern were two of the Bureau's meteorologists who participated in the minor trials but as Bob points out the nature of the trials was classified top secret and meteorologists were not informed of the nature of any hazardous material involved in the trials.

The Royal Commission report lists 321 Tims trials between 1955 and 1961 and in 1963, 125 Rats trials in 1956 and 1960, 31 Vixen A trials between 1959 and 1961 and 12 Vixen B trials in 1960, 1961 and 1963. There were also Kittens trials at Emu Field and Maralinga in 1953 and 1954.

Kittens, Tims and Rats trials were to assist the design of the nuclear weapon. Vixen A trials attempted to study the effect of a nuclear weapon being involved in an accidental fire. Vixen B trials attempted a study of the effect of the detonation of high explosives near a nuclear weapon.

The Royal Commission report gives the impression that these tests were ill-conceived and poorly managed. Almost 1 kg of plutonium was used in the Vixen A trials, of which half was dispersed near the site of the trials at Maralinga. Vixen B trials used 22 kg of plutonium which left a serious contamination of the site.

Meteorological teams at 'minor trials' were involved in making forecasts and meteorological observations at the site of the trials.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph

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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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