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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth

Chapter 2: Struggle, Competition and Emergence
The Struggle for Recognition
International Involvement
Local Cooperation
The Bureau Goes Solo

Appendix 1: Meteorology Act 1906

Appendix 2: Meteorology Act 1955

Appendix 3: Simpson Report

Appendix 4: Survey Questionnaire

Appendix 5: Bibliography



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Chapter 2: Struggle, Competition and Emergence

The Struggle for Recognition

In this chapter, I examine the Bureau's emergence from the heady days of World War II, which saw meteorology emerge from its self-imposed cocoon and begin to take on the trappings of a real science, rather than a system based on empirical knowledge and folklore.

By this time, the newer science graduates had begun to outnumber the old-style forecasters, who were trained on the job. These graduates tended to be more receptive to outside ideas than their predecessors and welcomed any opportunity to expand the Bureau's small research team into a proper research group with an interest in all areas of meteorology.

This led to a number of clashes with Australia's national research body, the CSIR (subsequently CSIRO), which also viewed meteorology as an area in which it could undertake some useful work. These difficulties, which began with the establishment of the Meteorological Physics Section in 1947, continued off and on and finally came to a head in the early 1980s. As mentioned in the introduction, I surveyed a number of Bureau and CSIRO staff in order to gain further information on the relationship between the two organisations during the latter half of this period. I have used the answers to this questionnaire to flesh out the information which has already been written on the topic as a means of providing a better perspective on this delicate subject.

The Bureau's push towards control of its own scientific research group took place on a number of different fronts. I have followed each of these through individually before bringing them together at the end when the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC) was formed. The chapter ends with a review of the main threads of the story in an attempt to place them into some sort of perspective within the wider Australian context.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre

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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
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