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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

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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Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service

At the time of the outbreak of war in 1939, the Meteorological Branch of the Commonwealth Department of the Interior was undergoing a period of intensive reorganisation and development. This had been necessitated by the rapid growth of the civil aviation services of the Commonwealth, during the previous decade, which called for a forecasting service giving precise information regarding upper winds, the horizontal and vertical extent of cloud, icing and other weather conditions hazardous to aviation along routes and at terminals at time of flight.

The science of meteorology at this time was in a stage of transition from a two-dimensional study of conditions at the Earth's surface to a three-dimensional investigation made possible by a few soundings of the upper air by pilot balloon and aeroplane. Thus, the Australian meteorologist had not only to test the validity of theories and methods developed overseas when applied to local conditions, but had also continually to keep abreast of overseas developments in the field of meteorology, at the same time striving to discover explanations for atmospheric processes at work in the region.

The position at the time when the meteorological branch was put on a wartime basis as the RAAF Meteorological Service was therefore that the application of frontal methods of synoptic analysis to local conditions were largely untried and the application of these methods to airline forecasting was in an embryonic stage. In these circumstances, every meteorological office in the Commonwealth became a centre of investigation and each forecaster, to perform his routine duties, found it necessary to become a research worker with the atmosphere as his laboratory.

In 1940 an air-mass and frontal analysis section was established at the headquarters of the service in Melbourne to make an intensive study of the available literature and to test the application of methods of analysis to local conditions. After a period of experimentation, the section began the issue of a daily advisory statement to all field sections containing the headquarters' idea of the situation, distributed a technical memorandum giving a method of frontal analysis suitable to local conditions and commenced the monthly issue of a series of notes in which the analyses for each day of the month were discussed.

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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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