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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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Investigations into Tropical Meteorology (continued)

Having gained an MSc in 1942 for that review, I sought advice from Ralph Holmes, Sqn Ldrs John (Doc) Hogan (1912–1978) and George Mackey, and Flt Lt Doug Forder, all of the RAAF Meteorological Service and from Wing Cmdr A. Grimes RAP, formerly Director of the Malayan Meteorological Service. I then submitted a revised version of the thesis to the Bureau of Meteorology and it was duly published (Gibbs, 1943). It is of historical interest that Kidson (1923, 1935), Palmer (1942), Treloar and Squires were among the few meteorologists from our region who had explored frontal analysis in the Australian area at that time.

When I completed my MSc thesis in 1942, I submitted a brief paper on the subject of the gradient wind in low latitudes to the Linnean Society of New South Wales. In our training course, considerable attention had been paid to derivation of the wind field at 1000 m from the pressure pattern at mean sea level. A nomogram was used to determine wind speed from pressure gradient. Wind direction at that level was assumed to be at right angles to the gradient so that if one faced into the wind in the southern hemisphere, higher pressure would be on one's right.

One aspect which was not mentioned on our training course was that if geostrophic conditions applied at the equator, any pressure gradient should produce a wind of infinite speed. Although the questions raised in my paper were interesting, my technique in seeking answers to the questions was somewhat primitive. However the paper did illustrate how inadequate at that time was the textbook treatment of the pressure gradient—wind flow relationship in equatorial latitudes.

Viewed from the standpoint of our present (1994) knowledge of meteorological processes, the Bureau publication (Gibbs, 1943) and my paper submitted to the Linnean Society seem embarrassingly amateurish. It should be remembered that at that time there was little academic interest in meteorology in Australia. Textbooks and published papers regarded air-mass and frontal analysis as the principal tools of synoptic analysis. There was little, if any, information on the subject of tropical meteorology. The only observations of the atmosphere consisted of surface observations and a restricted network of pilot-balloon observations of upper wind.

People in Bright Sparcs - Forder, Douglas Highmoor (Doug); Hogan, John (Doc); Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward; Kidson, Edward; Mackey, George William; 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
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher