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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

Chapter 7: Met With the Army

Chapter 8: Research and Personnel Training

Chapter 9: Instrumental Development and Maintenance
Major Projects

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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Radar Wind-finding

Initial successful experiments in the determination of direction and velocity of upper winds, using Gun Laying Mark II fire control equipment, were conducted by the section late in 1941, with the assistance of officers of the RAAF Directorate of Signals and the cooperation of Anti-Aircraft Defences (Melbourne). This project necessitated the development of suitable reflectors for attachment to balloons, so that the radar waves would be effectively returned to the transmitting instrument and so enable tracing of the component's movement, but after experimentation, suitable types were produced during 1942 and in the following year 10 radar wind-finding stations were established.

Hydrogen Generators

Early in the war, a shortage of the metal cylinders used to contain hydrogen for use in filling balloons for meteorological purposes was felt, so that by 1941, with D.Met.S. stations using a large quantity of gas (it rose to 20 000 cubic feet during 1944), steps were taken by the instruments section to develop suitable hydrogen generators. In association with the Directorate of Technical Services, Fl Lt Martin successfully tested the first experimental high pressure generator in early 1942, which used a caustic soda/ferro-silicon process. This generator was developed from somewhat scanty information, but proved completely successful and 60 were ordered; by the end of 1944, 180 were in use at D.Met.S. stations throughout Australia and the South-West Pacific Area, enabling weather personnel to prepare their own hydrogen without reliance on outside sources.

A special, lightweight, low pressure generator also was designed and produced in quantity during 1944 for use by mobile meteorological flights operating with army formations. Incidentally, much equipment for these units was designed and produced by the instruments section, acting in association with Sqn Ldr L. J. Dwyer, Meteorological Liaison Officer to Land Forces.

Non-meteorological Equipment

Reference already has been made to the work on non-meteorological equipment undertaken by the section on behalf of the RAAF. This involved much highly technical work, especially so the type testing of aircraft instruments. Some of these instruments required 100 hours continuous detailed testing, so that with three samples of each type under review it is apparent that many man-hours on the part of skilled personnel were required. Some idea of the growth of this work is given by the following record of equipment type tested during the war years: 1942, 8 instruments tested; 1943, 82; 1944, 156; 1945, 112.

Another activity in this non-meteorological category lay in the training courses in optics instituted and conducted within the section during 1944 and 1945. Pupils were RAAF instrument makers, who subsequently were posted for duty with aircraft repair depots and aircraft depots.

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

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph

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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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