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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane
General Douglas MacArthur
We Join Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane
Ralph Holmes
Forecasting Procedure
WAAAFs and Other Staff
Briefing MacArthur & Co
Domestic Affairs
The Yanks Are Coming
Japanese Advance Across Owen Stanley Range
General George C. Kenney
Additional Staff
Staff Arrangements
Long Range Forecast
Investigations into Tropical Meteorology
Analysis Statements
MacArthur's Remarkable Strategy
A New Direction
Tropical Weather Research Bulletin
RAAF Command, Pat Squires and Henry Phillpot

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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Forecasting Procedure

In addition to his duties as officer-in-charge, Ralph shared with me the routine of producing forecasts and other information for Allied Air Headquarters. For this we plotted and analysed weather observations over an area extending from west to east from the longitude of Singapore to that of Fiji and from about latitude 20N to about 40S. As had been the case in Port Moresby, pilot balloon observations were represented on the chart using the 'snake' method of representation. We continued to suffer from a lack of knowledge of the behaviour of the atmosphere in low latitudes. In those days some progress was being made in developing an understanding of the mechanism of the atmosphere in higher northern hemisphere latitudes but there was little if any investigation of the atmosphere in low latitudes.

A feature of synoptic analysis in the RAAF Meteorological Service and many other meteorological services in other parts of the world at that time, was the air-mass and frontal model (alternatively called the polar front model) first developed by Scandinavian meteorologists during World War I. The term 'front' had been adopted to indicate the boundary between different air-masses from the use of the same word to indicate the dividing line between two opposing armies. This model had been viewed with little enthusiasm by other meteorological services between the two World Wars except for isolated far-seeing meteorologists such as Kidson and Palmer in New Zealand. Treloar and Squires had studied the application of these models in the headquarters of the RAAF Meteorological Service in Melbourne but with the rather meagre observational network, particularly in the upper air, there was a considerable amount of subjectivity in the practical application of the model. This model was of a character much different from the geophysical fluid dynamic models developed after World War II, improved versions of which run on computers today. Although Richardson had developed a primitive numerical model in World War I, the full potential of such models could only be achieved by the use of a sophisticated electronic computer which did not become available until the late 1940s.

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

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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
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