Page 754
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth
The First Three Decades
A Time of Rapid Growth

Chapter 2: Struggle, Competition and Emergence

Appendix 1: Meteorology Act 1906

Appendix 2: Meteorology Act 1955

Appendix 3: Simpson Report

Appendix 4: Survey Questionnaire

Appendix 5: Bibliography



Contact us
Negotiations with the Radio Research Board

The period 1930–35 saw a number of discussions and disagreements between the Bureau and the Radio Research Board (RRB) over the utility of Cathode Ray Direction Finding (CRDF) equipment for the location of thunderstorms and the introduction of Bjerknes' frontal theory into Australian weather forecasting. The RRB was following up overseas work which suggested that there was a strong correlation between atmospheric electrical discharges (atmospherics) and the position of meteorological phenomena, particularly cold front thunderstorms.

Despite Hunt's initial acceptance of an offer of collaboration from the RRB, overall support within the Bureau must have been rather lukewarm, so much so that in March 1931 the RRB came to the conclusion that the Bureau's scientific basis was so weak that it could not appreciate the practical application of the Board's research. This view was backed by the British Airship Commission, then investigating an air route for a dirigible (R101) service between Australia and Britain and given moral support by the Royal Australian Navy, which had also expressed interest in the Board's work (Evans [27]).

Concurrently, the RRB approached the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Executive to take appropriate action to strengthen the Bureau's scientific expertise and have a scientist appointed Commonwealth Meteorologist in future. Apparently, representations were made at the time but never followed up (Evans [27]). It should be noted at this point that in a letter to the RRB dated 29 April 1935, W. S. Watt, by then Commonwealth Meteorologist, stated that the Bureau staff included "four science (physics) graduates"—four out of a total of nearly ninety!

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Radio Research Board

People in Bright Sparcs - Hunt, Henry Ambrose ; Watt, William Shand

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

Gardner, J. 1997 'Stormy Weather: A History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 11 December 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher