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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up
Early Australian Meteorologists
Early Days in the Bureau
Forecasters' Training Course
My Classmates
Reorganisation of the Bureau
Love and Marriage

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


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Forecasters' Training Course (continued)

Pat Allender had the unenviable task of instructing us how to make observations, care for instruments, encode and decode meteorological messages and plot observations on synoptic charts using an ingenious double pen with two nibs, one with red and the other with blue ink. Pat was a perpetually cheerful soul who, despite our boredom, managed to persuade us to persevere with our work.

For me, one of the most tiresome tasks was attempting to memorise the meanings of the hundreds of words in the word code for meteorological messages. 'Doug' Forder applied himself to the task with customary zeal, constructing a separate card for each of the many words in the code, with the equivalent value on the back of each card. Luckily the word code was replaced by the five-figure international numerical code not long after our course concluded.

An occasional lecturer was John Hogan (1896–1970) who instructed us on cloud formations. John, not to be confused with the other John 'Doc' Hogan (1912–1978), was one of the old school, courtly, polite, the perfect gentleman. Our class treated John Hogan with the respect his quiet dignity deserved.

Our course had two principal components—theoretical and practical. Theory related to the physics and dynamics of meteorological processes. Practical classes instructed us in the operation of meteorological instruments, encoding and decoding meteorological messages, plotting observations on synoptic charts, making isobaric and frontal analysis of the charts, and considering likely developments in significant weather in the 24 hours ahead.

Theoretical aspects of meteorology were not highly developed at that time. The war was to produce remarkable scientific and technological developments which facilitated considerable advances in our knowledge of the atmosphere and its workings. David Brunt's text on Dynamical Meteorology published in 1934 provided a basic guide to fluid dynamics without any indication of how this theory might be used by a practising meteorologist. I was grateful in later years to come across a textbook which explained geophysical fluid dynamics using vectors which I found much easier to understand. We had no knowledge of the pioneering work of L. F. Richardson in exploring possible application of the equations of fluid dynamics in predicting the behaviour of the atmosphere. Richardson's monumental efforts during World War I to apply his theory by making manual calculations of likely changes in the pressure pattern had not produced plausible results. The post-World War II development of the electronic computer, which provided a mechanism for the laborious computation of pressure changes, enabled Richardson's ideas to be further developed.

People in Bright Sparcs - Forder, Douglas Highmoor (Doug); Hogan, John; Hogan, John (Doc)

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Gibbs, W. J. 1995 'A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 7 March 1995, 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