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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962





Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950
Warren the Man
Warren Joins the Bureau
Wartime Perceptions and Attitudes
Return to Civvy Street
People in the Bureau
Re-establishing and Reorganising the Bureau
Reorganisation of Central Office
The Position of Chief Scientific Officer
Post-War Reorganisation
The Haldane Story
Public Weather Services
The New South Wales Divisional Office
The Victorian Divisional Office
The Queensland Divisional Office
The South Australian Divisional Office
The Western Australian Divisional Office
The Tasmanian Divisional Office
Pre-war Services for Civil Aviation
Post-War Meteorological Service for Aviation
Indian Ocean Survey Flight
The Aviation Field Staff
Synoptic Analysis, Prognosis and Forecasting
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Meteorology
A Wider Scientific Horizon
Research, Development and Special Investigations
Analysts' Conference, April 1950
Instruments and Observations
Radar Winds and Radar Weather Watch
Climate and Statistics
The Universities
Achievements of the Warren Years

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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Synoptic Analysis, Prognosis and Forecasting

This section of my reminiscences must begin with a definition of the terms 'synoptic analysis', 'prognosis' and 'forecasting'.

'Synoptic analysis' describes the analysis of the state of the atmosphere by using charts containing plots of weather observations at various places and drawing isopleths of atmospheric elements such as pressure, temperature, wind, etc, and other boundaries or significant features, at the Earth's surface and at various upper levels. Synoptic analysis also involves the examination and interpretation of plots of the variation of wind, pressure, temperature and humidity in the vertical and plots of the time sequence of atmospheric elements at a particular location.

'Prognosis' (although usually synonymous with the term 'forecasting') is used here to signify the preparation of charts or diagrams depicting the expected pattern of meteorological parameters at a specific time in the future. These charts and diagrams depict the expected patterns of pressure, temperature, wind, fronts, etc on the Earth's surface and at upper levels.

The term 'forecasting' is used here with the specific meaning of the prediction of weather elements such as wind, cloud, temperature, rain, snow, hail, frost, fog, etc., for a specific geographical place or area. The forecast is generally expressed in words and figures. The form and scope of the forecast depends on the use to which the forecast will be put. Thus forecasts for aviators, mariners, sailors, fishermen, builders or for the general public are each likely to have a different form.

The conventional method of making forecasts was first to plot and analyse a series of synoptic charts and diagrams for certain times of the day (usually at three or six hourly intervals) and to construct prognostic charts and diagrams for specific times in the future. Those prognostic charts and diagrams (which we called 'proggos') were used as a basis (with any other relevant data) for making a weather forecast.

In the early days of my service in the Bureau (1939) the weather forecasting routine was largely left to the discretion of the individual forecasters at Divisional and field offices. Synoptic charts were limited to the surface of continental Australia and upper air and prognostic charts were not prepared.

The Central Analysis Office (CAO) of the Bureau's Central Office in Melbourne, to which I was posted in 1946, had evolved from separate offices established in the 1940s, AMFA in Melbourne and the Allied Air Forces meteorological section in Brisbane.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Air Mass and Frontal Analysis Section (AMFA); Central Analysis Office (CAO)

People in Bright Sparcs - Warren, Herbert Norman

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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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