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Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare
The Weather and Chemical Warfare
Weather Control

Chapter 2: Establishing and Developing the RAAF Directorate of Met. Services (D.Met.S)

Chapter 3: Recruiting and Training of Personnel

Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 5: The Met. Retreating

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy

Chapter 8: Divisional Offices of the Bureau of Meteorology During the War

Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



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Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare

'When shadows were strong and thunderbolts hurtle . . .'
Adam Lindsay Gordon

'It ranks with guns and ammunition. That is how important weather is in the Pacific War. It is the first step in planning, the final determination in execution.' So wrote an American war correspondent in summing up his observation of the planning and the initial operational stages of the Allied invasion of Okinawa. 'Weather is an ever-present factor in every operation', he went on. 'Proper use of it invariably pays dividends. Failure to plan on it may lead to catastrophe.'[1]

Reflecting after the war, the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, RAAF, commented:

'Weather is an essential consideration to all operational planning. It will be readily seen that no matter how perfectly planned the actual motives in an operation are, the operation can be seriously affected if weather unforeseenly changes to any marked degree.'[2]

In the countless wars that have been fought since the beginning of history, the land has been overrun, the sea mastered, and the air dominated. One element has remained unconquered and unaffected—the weather. This phenomenon has been friend and foe to all alike—a perennial double agent, untrustworthy, unreliable, and unfortunately, often unpredictable.

In his book, Australia in the War of 1939–1945, Professor D. P. Mellor states:

'One account of the origin of weather forecasting traces it back to the Crimean War. After a particularly violent storm which did considerable damage to both the French and English fleets, the Emperor Napoleon III commissioned the astronomer LeVerrier, to organize a system of weather forecasting. About the same time, Admiral Fitzroy in England and Lieutenant Maury in the United States became interested in collecting, tabulating and discussing observations of weather and ocean currents for the benefit of shipping. Within a few years, meteorological offices were set up in these and other countries, and experiments in storm warning and weather forecasts were begun. Ever since, war has continued to influence the development of meteorology.'[3]

People in Bright Sparcs - FitzRoy, Robert; Maury, Matthew Fontaine

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Joyce, J. 1993 'The Story of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 5 October 1993, 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