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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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ADP, EDP and Computers (continued)

The knowledge of the laws governing the dynamics of the atmosphere was surprisingly well advanced in 1904. The difficulty in developing a technique to make predictions using the equations describing those laws was not overcome until 1922 when a paper by Lewis Richardson was published by the Royal Society after Richardson had spent 11 years on the problem.

However in 1922 Richardson's solution would have required a huge team of human computers for the technique to be implemented. His single-handed laborious computation to produce a numerical six-hour forecast for Europe was spectacularly unsuccessful. It was not until a sufficiently sophisticated electronic computer became available in the early 1950s that von Neumann was able to bring Richardson's dream to reality. It took a further 20 years before computer-aided NWP became operationally useful.

For those wishing to find romance in meteorology I recommend a reading of the brief summary of the Richardson story in my 1972 ANZAAS address or better still the stories of Platzman (1967) and Ashford (1985).

In retrospect it was wise for those of us in the Bureau in the Dwyer years to proceed cautiously in planning the acquisition of a computer for NWP. Firstly the network of observations in the southern hemisphere was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of item 1 of the Bjerknes statement of 1904, secondly techniques to satisfy the requirements of Bjerknes item 2 required much refinement and thirdly computer hardware and software were developing so rapidly that it was desirable to make a detailed evaluation of the state of the art in overseas countries before recommending which computer should be procured. Further developments are discussed in Chapter 6.

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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