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Table of Contents

War History of the Australian Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: D.Met.S.—Australia's Wartime Weather Service

Chapter 2: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 3: Met in the Retreat

Chapter 4: Met in the Advance

Chapter 5: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 6: Central Forecasting Services
General Reorganisation for War
Security and Censorship
Code and Cipher Development
National Synoptic Broadcasts
Services to Armed Forces
Services to Private Industry

Chapter 7: Met With the Army

Chapter 8: Research and Personnel Training

Chapter 9: Instrumental Development and Maintenance

Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service

Chapter 11: Divisional Bureaux and Their Work

Appendix 1: List of Reports Provided by D.Met.S. for Advances Operational Planning and Other Purposes

Appendix 2: List of Service Personnel RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 3: List of Civilian Personnel Who Worked Together with Service Personnel of the RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 4: List of Locations at which RAAF Meteorological Service Personnel Served


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Navy (continued)

This was followed by three-cornered discussions in June between the Directorate and the Australian and American Naval authorities to design a system of fleet synoptic messages on a regional basis. Technical planning of the system was placed in the hands of the supervising meteorologist of the Directorate, who drew up a scheme whereby the Australian naval station was divided into four weather sections, with fleet synoptic messages to be broadcast from Darwin, Townsville, Sydney and Perth. The scheme provided for broadcast messages embracing synoptic reports, weather forecasts and map analyses to be transmitted daily from each station, the RAAF Meteorological Service being responsible for preparation of messages and the Naval Board for their transmission. In December 1942 the system came into operation, with four broadcasts daily from Townsville, two each from Sydney and Darwin and one from Perth, but towards the end of 1943 the Western Australian transmission was increased to two. About the same time, also, it was found that through technical transmission difficulties adequate meteorological information was not reaching naval task forces operating in the New Guinea-Solomon Islands region, so the normal fleet synoptic system was supplemented by a special broadcast service emitted from the RAAF station at Goodenough Island. This service provided for local weather information to be sent to task forces operating in the New Guinea area and at the same time it was suggested that the Navy should examine the whole existing fleet synoptic organisation to determine what revision was necessary to meet operational needs. Meanwhile, at the request of the Naval Board, several naval weather officers were given a conversion course in Australian meteorology at the headquarters of D.Met.S. before taking up their duty with the forces. One of these officers subsequently was appointed to naval staff in a meteorological liaison capacity.

Storm warnings to ships at sea also had given rise to discussion at this time, since in some cases these advices had not reached vessels concerned, although they had been issued from the Directorate. Generally, it was agreed that while the meteorological service was responsible for issuing such warnings, it devolved upon the Naval authorities to transmit the information to ships concerned, and after consideration of all aspects of the matter it was decided to revise the whole warning system. This new scheme came into operation at the beginning of June 1943 after arrangements had been made with the naval meteorological liaison officer for proper promulgation through service publications of details of weather information available in South-West Pacific waters.

In February 1944 extension of the Darwin and Perth fleet synoptic services was considered, in conjunction with the meteorological liaison officer of the Australian Naval Board and the meteorological officer representing the British Eastern Fleet, in the light of requirements of the Eastern Fleet in the event of movement to Australasian waters. Arrangements for additional synoptic information to be included in these messages were made, while in June, forecast areas coordinated with those of African and Indian fleet services were delineated and submitted for approval. The latter action followed Admiralty advice that use of the Whitehall code for fleet purposes was favoured, but although 1 October 1944 was fixed as the tentative date for introducing the new system, it was postponed subsequently pending reorganisation of the whole network of fleet synoptic services. Finally, after many conferences with the Naval authorities, a revised system was brought into operation on 1 January 1945, containing two distinct types of meteorological messages—fleet forecasts and fleet synoptics. Forecasts, in the naval Whitehall code, were transmitted twice daily from Darwin, Townsville, Sydney and Perth, but fleet synoptic broadcasts from Sydney and Townsville were discontinued. In their place synoptic broadcasts from Darwin were extended to cover an area to 40 degrees north of the Equator, at the rate of four per day; at Perth two synoptic broadcasts each day were retained. These changes which were arranged to meet varying dispositions of naval units in the South-West Pacific and neighbouring theatres, were made subject to revision as operations required.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Directorate of Meteorological Services (D.Met.S)

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Haldane, T. 1997 'War History of the Australian Meteorological Service in the Royal Australian Air Force April 1941 to July 1946', Metarch Papers, No. 10 October 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

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