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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 6: The Birth of the Instrument Section (continued)

Pat did Pure I, II, III and Mixed I, II, III at The University of Melbourne and I think topped three or four of those subjects. He was a member of John Lillywhite's course. He was sent to work as a forecaster with Arthur White at Mascot. With his careful scientific approach he frequently was unable to complete his forecast by the time the aeroplane was taking off. It was decided he was more suited for a research position. Pat had real skill. He subsequently distinguished himself as a research scientist in CSIRO and National Center for Atmospheric Research at Boulder in the US.

Another important involvement was the idea that radar would be useful for wind-finding. The outcome was an immense disappointment for me. At that time, Twadell had just arrived in Australia in charge of a contingent of USAF meteorologists. When we were working on the radiosonde we had learnt of the development of radar. I was talking to a senior RAAF officer, Pither, who was involved with radar when he said 'we might be able to help you with our radar; I'll send one of my blokes along'.

When one of his Flight Lieutenants called I explained that pilot balloon observations of wind were limited by the balloon being obscured by low cloud or reduced visibility. He suggested making some radar reflectors from copper tubing to be flown below balloons. He gave me the dimensions required and suggested we go to Williamstown where a radar was located with an anti-aircraft unit. The radar was a GL2 (gun-laying Mk 2).

So we put these bits of copper tubing together and spent about a week down at Williamstown and tried it out with the GL2, using the copper tubing for a reflector suspended under a balloon. The copper was too heavy. It was necessary to use a large balloon to lift it. We were successful in measuring winds above clouds.

I proudly reported to Timcke that I was able to measure winds above clouds. Timcke wasn't the least bit interested, and neither was Warren. I was amazed. I could not sell the idea to anyone.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William; Lillywhite, John Wilson; Timcke, Edward Waldemar; Warren, Herbert Norman; White, Arthur 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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