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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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Services to Private Industry

The imposition of censorship regulations during the war closed the normal channels of weather information to private citizens through the press, radio and public exhibition of bulletins and affected distribution of meteorological reports and forecasts for pastoral, industrial and general civilian purposes. In the interests of national security it was essential that means to be found to ameliorate the difficulties whilst still denying information to enemy agents.

Until the end of 1940 the only restriction placed on distribution of meteorological information to the public affected the broadcast of detailed collective synoptic messages, but, as the year closed, a conference between the Chief Publicity Censor, the Director of Meteorological Services, and Chief Intelligence Officers of the armed services laid down general principles to govern censorship of weather information. It was resolved firstly, that the needs of primary and secondary industries in individual country districts should be met by special district weather forecasts, designed to meet the requirements of the main industry in each district, telegraphed to all post offices of the district daily. Postmasters were authorised to issue these on demand to residents whose bona fides were established. Secondly, that all government departments, municipalities and public utilities be provided with necessary meteorological information under confidential conditions; and that the needs of private firms and individuals requiring weather information for industrial business purposes would be met on personal application to the Director of Meteorological Services. Defence services would be supplied with this information through official channels, and shipping requirements would be met through the Director of Navigation, Customs Department and Naval authorities.

At the same time, it was decided to suspend the normal wireless broadcasts of weather information other than daily river heights, weekly rainfall and weather warnings, substituting telegraphic district forecasts to country post offices. Otherwise normal services to the public continued until December 1941 when a further conference on meteorological security called by the Chief Publicity Censor decided to enforce full censorship of weather information.

This operated from the beginning of 1942, with press publication of meteorological matter restricted to weekly rainfall, temperature information 24 hours after the time of observation, river levels and flood and bushfire warnings authorised by the Directorate. Broadcasting of weather information was suspended, except for weekly rainfall figures, and direct supply of data to the public was forbidden except under the confidential conditions previously laid down.

Soon afterwards wireless messages from outpost weather stations also were prohibited, except official messages in approved ciphers.

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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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