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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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Post-War Reorganisation

Even prior to the cessation of hostilities, Warren was drawing up plans for the resumption of civilian services and the post-war organisation of the Bureau. Unfortunately however, demobilisation and ongoing uncertainty created by protracted and difficult negotiations with the PSB caused the Bureau to shed some 400 staff from its wartime peak of 1073 (BOM [10]).

Thus the Bureau was once again placed in the awkward situation of having to recruit large numbers of staff to meet the needs of a greatly expanded economy. In all sectors, such as primary and secondary industry and civil aviation, demand for Bureau services had grown enormously since the 1930s. As a result, the Bureau was forced to compete against other organisations for whatever scientifically trained personnel were then available. Because it operated under the Public Service Act, unlike CSIRO and the universities, the Bureau was not in an ideal position to recruit the appropriate research and forecasting staff, since its working conditions were not as attractive as those offered by its competitors.

As a short-term solution to the most pressing problem, that of catering for the needs of the greatly expanded aviation industry, the Bureau embarked on a campaign of training former RAAF pilots and navigators to assist in the area of aviation forecasting (Handcock in a personal communication). In common with their pre-war and wartime forebears, these men were taught the rudiments of meteorological theory and basic forecasting rules prior to being posted into the field to work at the various civil and defence aerodromes in place of their professional colleagues. These latter could then be released to move to management and research positions in various Central and Regional Office sections.

However, the Bureau, unlike the RAAF, did ultimately distinguish between these two groups of staff: the professionals were designated meteorologists and the non-professionals weather officers, with the term forecaster being applicable to both. No doubt, the Bureau saw this distinction as being important in the struggle to have meteorology regarded as a science and itself seen as a scientific, as opposed to service, organisation (Gibbs in a personal communication).

In terms of their duties, the weather officers were usually restricted to the area of aviation forecasting, whereas the meteorologists were permitted to work as both public weather and aviation forecasters and meteorological researchers. This division has continued up to the present, although meteorologists have assumed an expanding proportion of the aviation forecasting duties with the passage of time.

People in Bright Sparcs - Warren, Herbert Norman

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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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