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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

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



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Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

'Fair weather, ready for air raid' was the message despatched by a weather observation plane over Japan to US B29 Superfortress, Enola Gay, at 0700 hours on 6 August 1945. The American aircraft was carrying the atomic bomb which was to destroy the city of Hiroshima and cause some 90,000 human casualties more than an hour later. Two more weather planes accompanied Enola Gay.

Three days later, another B29 and a weather observation plane left the Trinian air base early in the morning and exploded the second A-bomb over the city of Nagasaki at 1102 hours.[97]

The first bomb found its epicentre about one kilometre south of a weather front where a northern airmass and a southern airmass met. A tornado developed near the front. 'Thunder rumbled, black rain fell, and the sea breeze was strengthened and prolonged. In fact, the muddy rain contained the fallout.'[98]

At Nagasaki the mushroom-shaped cloud extended from 1,200 to 5,000 metres—base and top respectively. Immediately following the bombing, three radiosondes were released from the weather plane at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 metres. These were carried away to the east. From the data obtained, the wind velocity in the disturbance itself was estimated to have been about three metres per second, east or north-east. 'Rain was frequently admixed with ashes (black rain).'[99]

Incidentally, rumour had it that amongst the places not demolished by the bomb in Hiroshima were the brewery and the meteorological office!

On the tropical evening of 7 August 1945, I was relaxing off-duty with a group of fellow-officers in the mess at Milne Bay listening to the radio. I heard the broadcaster announce in a news flash that a US Superfortress had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a large city in Japan. He spoke of incredible damage that had resulted from the blast, and as he talked on, a feeling came over me that the world had stopped for a moment, and that somehow it would never be the same again. The bluish-white glare that enveloped the stricken Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was like a ghastly curtain rung down suddenly on the world we had known. We looked at one another not clearly comprehending what had happened. What was an atomic bomb?

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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