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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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In 1943 the introduction of the radiosonde into Australia provided the opportunity to greatly expand our meteorological horizons. Max Cassidy, in his reminiscences (which are being processed for publication in the Bureau of Meteorology Metarch Papers series), tells how preliminary experiments with a radiosonde constructed by Allan Cornish of the Bureau and Bill Boswell of the PMG's Department were made in April 1940 with a primitive balloon-borne instrument at the Mont Park PMG receiver station. These experiments continued, some involving balloon launchings from the Bureau's headquarters at No 2 Drummond Street, Melbourne. The only previous upper air soundings of temperature had been made by Bureau staff using balloon-borne meteorographs in 1915 and by RAAF aviators near Melbourne and Sydney in the 1930s.

Max, in his reminiscences, and Joyce (1993) in his, mention that late in 1941 Allan Cornish was joined by Lieutenant-Commander Dimitrevic of the US Navy who assisted in the further development of the radiosonde. In the winter of 1942 they were working on the establishment of a radiosonde ground station in Charleville and also visited a number of other sites in Queensland to arrange for the installation of other ground stations for radiosondes. Max also indicates that about this time arrangements had been made for the manufacture of the US Bendix-Friez radiosonde under license by Radio Corporation in South Melbourne.

The publication of the full details of the Bureau's development of its radiosonde network requires considerable further historical research but published and unpublished notes by H. N. (Bill) Brann, Max Cassidy, Allan Cornish, Tom Haldane, Don Handcock and John Joyce (1993) provide useful information.

Records in the Bureau's National Climate Centre, kindly provided by Anne Brewster, suggest that the first routine radiosonde observations were made at Laverton RAAF Station (near Melbourne) in April 1943, followed by observations from Hamilton Reach US Navy base (Brisbane) and RAAF stations at Townsville, Cloncurry, Darwin, Charleville and Norfolk Island, in that order, with the Norfolk Island station commencing in October 1943. 1944 saw radiosonde observations commence at Port Moresby, Lord Howe Island, Rathmines (near Newcastle) and Alice Springs, while in 1945 observations commenced at RAAF stations at Amberley (near Brisbane, replacing the US Navy station at Hamilton Reach, which closed) and Parafield (near Adelaide). Radiosonde records from 1943 to 1946 from the National Climate Centre are summarised in Appendix 4. These records may be incomplete, particularly as there is evidence of a Bureau ground station being established in Charleville in 1942, although this may have been an experimental project.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - National Climate Centre

People in Bright Sparcs - Brann, Harold Walter Allen Neale (Bill); Cornish, Allan William; Haldane, Thomas; Handcock, Don; Joyce, John

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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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