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Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare

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
Instrumental Development

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



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Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development


In 1921, a small research section had been created in the Australian Meteorological Service under the charge of Edward Kidson, OBE, Assistant-Commonwealth Meteorologist. In the early 1930s, this section, located at the Central Office of the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne, was in the charge of Mr H. Barclay, who collaborated with the RAAF to make aircraft flights up to 16,000 feet to collect weather information. These flights have been described in a previous chapter.

By 1937, a regular network of pilot balloon observations of upper winds had been established in Australia. In the same year, a productive conference of representatives of the Bureau, Department of the Interior and the Public Service Board devised an effective plan to upgrade meteorological methods to take advantage of the new wealth of information internationally available. As a result, the Met. was considerably strengthened and modernised—fortuitously, on the brink of World War II.

During his service, Kidson, and later Wing-Commander H. Treloar, encouraged the adaptation of the Norwegian frontal theory in Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere. Treloar's early work on frontal analysis showed that although the Norwegian theory of cold fronts was significantly applicable in the Australian region south of the tropics, the general pattern did not conform very closely with that of the northern hemisphere. One of the difficulties was that cold southern maritime air became so modified as it passed over the vast dry Australian land surface, that fronts were often difficult to locate accurately. In the tropics this difficulty was accentuated as cold southern air was rapidly dissipated. At first, however, there were insufficient observations available to analyse fronts and their movements adequately, so that frontal analysis was not used in published forecasts before 1936. In the late thirties, the network was gradually increased and extended to cover the mandated territories, so that by 1939 a vast amount of meteorological data had been accumulated and analysed; many research investigations had been undertaken in synoptic meteorology and climatology. Much of this new research was published and circulated amongst meteorologists.

People in Bright Sparcs - Kidson, Edward; Treloar, Harry Mayne

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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
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