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Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology


Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish
Chapter 1: My Early Days in the Bureau
Chapter 2: Some New Vistas
Chapter 3: The RAAF Measures Upper Air Temperatures
Chapter 4: The Bureau Begins to Grow
Chapter 5: My Voyage in Discovery II
Chapter 6: The Birth of the Instrument Section
Chapter 7: Darwin Days
Chapter 8: I Leave the Bureau

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout

Four Years in the RAAF Meteorological Service by Keith Swan

The Bureau of Meteorology in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s by Col Glendinning


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Chapter 2: Some New Vistas (continued)

Somewhat later Pat Squires was involved with Barkley in using tethered balloons to measure temperature profiles to fifty feet above ground level. The reason for these measurements was the need for local forecasts of frost for vignerons and other agriculturalists producing frost prone crops. They used what they called smudging over smoke fires for the purpose of preventing frost. Barkley believed that it was necessary to heat the air under the temperature inversion. He thought that it was preferable to position clear heaters (instead of smoky ones) at the bottom end of a sloping valley.

Barkley had a keen interest in the relation between the weather and human comfort. He studied zones of comfort in Australia. He believed that humidity was an important consideration in human comfort and determined that when the vapour pressure exceeded half an inch then you were in a zone of discomfort. I assisted him in preparing maps showing the variability and the zones of comfort in various seasons in Australia.

Quayle was interested in the easterly drift in cirrus cloud which indicated persistent strong westerly winds at high levels where pilot balloon observations were rare.

Quayle also believed in the value of constructing a daily map of the departure from normal of the minimum temperature. The map of Australia of departure from mean minimum temperature was constructed using maps containing the mean minimum temperature for that day of the month. The departure from the mean was entered on another map—red or black, plus or minus. The departure from the mean minimum temperature was assumed to give an indication of moisture in the air. This was used as a forecasting aid.

The scientific knowledge in meteorology in Australia at this time was somewhat elementary but Hunt, Taylor, Quayle, Kidson, and Barkley had published significant scientific papers, as had Russell and Todd in Colonial days. The scientific status of meteorology in overseas countries was not very advanced at that time.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William; Hunt, Henry Ambrose ; Kidson, Edward; Quayle, Edwin Thomas; Russell, Henry Chamberlain; Squires, Patrick; Taylor, Thomas Griffith; Todd, Charles

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Cornish, A., Stout, R., Swan, K and Glendinning, C. 1996 'Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 8 February 1996, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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