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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 (continued)

Synoptic charts were plotted and analysed delineating isobaric patterns, convergence zones and isallobars.[6] When radiosonde was introduced, information of conditions in the earth's atmosphere to a height often miles became available. This development enabled the drawing of charts of constant pressure surfaces at successive heights in the atmosphere. The contour lines of these constant pressure surfaces were used as well as surface isobars. The charts were invaluable aids for forecasting upper winds. It was also noted that areas of severe weather in the tropics moved towards the equator, in contrast to the frontal systems in higher latitudes, which undulate north and south in a general easterly progression. With this acquired knowledge, some improvement in forecasting was possible. The RAAF Met. officers truly blazed a new trail in the hitherto mysterious field of tropical forecasting.

An up-to-data knowledge of weather conditions was urgently sought in the Pacific. To deny the enemy this advantage, stringent security measures were adopted, and weather information was transmitted in secret codes and cyphers. Sometimes, Japanese-coded reports were intercepted, and broken to glean weather information. Translations of captured Japanese documents—weather summary maps—by the US Pacific Fleet, indicated highly organised and efficient meteorological procedures by the enemy. The Japanese had been planning and preparing for war for a long time, and had obviously included the weather as a salient factor in their calculations. They probably made more use of the weather than any other nation. This is evidenced by their good timing of the landings at Milne Bay and at Buna and Gona in 1942, and generally in their southward advance in the south-west Pacific. They usually advanced under a protective cover of cloud and rain.

When General Macarthur's South-West Pacific headquarters was established in Brisbane in July 1942 it contained a meteorological section staffed by members of the RAAF Meteorological Service. This section provided daily briefings of expected weather conditions over the South-West Pacific area. In July 1943 this section began producing the Tropical Weather Research Bulletin which contained scientific papers dealing with the mechanisms producing weather conditions affecting military operations in the area. The leaders of this section were Squadron-Leader W. J. Gibbs of Sydney and Squadron-Leader R. A. E. Holmes of Perth.[7]

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill); Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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