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Origins of Australian Meteorology



The Origins of Australian Meteorology
FitzRoy and Maury
Thomas Brisbane
Phillip Parker King
Charles Todd
Ellery and Neumayer
Henry Chamberlain Russell
Clement Wragge
The International Scene
The End of the Beginning

Appendix 1: Chronological Chart of Early Meteorologists



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Henry Chamberlain Russell (continued)

A second conference was held in Melbourne in 1881 with the same delegates present. As with the previous conference there was an effort to recruit the colonies that were less active in meteorology and also get observations from outlying places such as New Caledonia and Fiji, New Zealand having cooperated closely with the colony of New South Wales from the earliest years.

At a third conference held in Melbourne in September 1888 all Australasian colonies were represented. It was apparent that by this time inter-colonial cooperation was working well although it was found necessary to agree that each head office would restrict its forecasts to its own colony and that the colonies would exchange forecasts by telegraph.

Russell was extremely active in astronomy but found time to publish over 30 meteorological papers.

The most notable contribution was 'Moving Anticyclones in the Southern Hemisphere' which appeared in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society in 1893. Using 1400 weather charts Russell deduced that, in the southern hemisphere, anticyclones were not fixed but moving; he also indicated that the latitude of the anticyclone tracks varied with season, being latitude 37 to 38S in summer and 29 to 32S in winter. Russell gave statistics on the rate of travel of anticyclones across Australia and also deduced that as they preserved their identity over Australia they most likely continued to do so around the hemisphere.

The report of the discussion which followed the paper is interesting. Messrs Scott, Harding, Hayes and Ingrid and Professor Laughton did not hesitate to express their disbelief. For example, 'Mr Russell stated that in Australia the anticyclones were five times as long in duration as cyclones; he (Mr Harding) thought it would be interesting to know if this were really the case as it was certainly not so in the British Isles otherwise we should enjoy five times as much fine weather as wet weather'.

The Reverend Clement Ley was reported as saying 'that only having heard a part of the paper under discussion he was not able to offer any remarks upon it, but he was certainly inclined to think, with previous speakers, that the results put forward were based on too small an area of observations'.

People in Bright Sparcs - Russell, Henry Chamberlain; Scott, William

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Gibbs, W. J. 1998 'The Origins of Australian Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 12 June 1998, Bureau of Meteorology

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