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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962



J. W. Zillman Director of Meteorology
The Seven Stages in the Life and Career of Dr W. J. Gibbs
The Meteorological Legacy of Dr Gibbs
Dr Gibb's Career—An Appreciation


Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950

Chapter 2: International Meteorology

Chapter 3: The Timcke Years, 1950 to 1955

Chapter 4: A Year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962

Chapter 6: A Springboard for the Future

Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Reports, Papers, Manuscripts

Appendix 3: Milestones

Appendix 4: Acknowledgements

Appendix 5: Summary by H. N. Warren of the Operation of the Meteorological Section of Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane, 1942–45



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The Meteorological Legacy of Dr Gibbs

During his 39 years in the Bureau of Meteorology and over the 20 years since his retirement from the Bureau, Bill Gibbs has played a unique leadership role in virtually every major sector of Australian meteorology. No brief summary such as this can even begin to do justice to the pioneering work he did in so many fields, but it is appropriate to at least mention some of those where he left an enduring mark.

Synoptic Analysis

Bill's initial engagement with the issues of synoptic analysis began in wartime in the tropics but it was during his early years back in Melbourne that he made his best-known contribution through pioneering work on synoptic analysis over the Southern Ocean including the use and misuse of frontal models in the Australian region. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the International Antarctic Analysis Centre (IAAC) in Melbourne following the IGY and played a key role in introducing numerical analysis systems on the southern hemisphere. A decade later he was responsible for Australia's key role in preparation for the Global Weather Experiment through the conduct of the GARP (Global Atmospheric Research Programme) Basic Data Set Project which, in many respects, represented the culmination of almost a century's work on manual synoptic analysis over the southern hemisphere.

Satellite Meteorology

From the background of his contacts with Dr Harry Wexler in the US, Bill recognised the potential value of satellite data to Australia and determined that Australia should grasp the opportunity provided. He quickly emerged as a key figure in the early WMO planning of meteorological satellite systems for the World Weather Watch and was instrumental in Australian hosting of a major WMO-sponsored international satellite seminar in Melbourne in 1968. Against high political odds during the 1970s period of Departmental hostility toward the Bureau, he fought for, and eventually achieved, the unique bilateral arrangement with Japan which has provided this country with more than two decades of invaluable support from the Japanese Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS) System.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - International Antarctic Analysis Centre

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill)

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Gibbs, W. J. 1999 'A Very Special Family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962', Metarch Papers, No. 13 May 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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