||Federation and Meteorology
Table of Contents
Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962
Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950
Chapter 2: International Meteorology
Chapter 3: The Timcke Years, 1950 to 1955
A Period of Consolidation
Services for the General Public
Rockets and Atomic Weapons
Instruments and Observations
Climate and Statistics
Central Analysis and Development
The Meteorology Act
Achievements of the Timcke Years
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, 194245
Rockets and Atomic Weapons (continued)In 1950 the British Prime Minister, Clement Atlee, consulted his Australian counterpart, R. G. Menzies, to seek agreement to holding atomic weapons tests in Australia. The discussions were classified top secret and the only other participants were the Australian Minister for Defence and the Treasurer. Menzies did not consult other members of Cabinet before agreeing that the test should be held in the Monte Bello Islands near the coast of Western Australia. A survey of the Islands (Operation Epicure) was conducted in 1950. Sir William Penney (later Lord Penney) visited Emu Field in Dingo Claypan before the explosion of Operation Hurricane to assess its suitability for later nuclear weapons tests. He obviously considered that the tests would extend over a number of years.
The report of the Royal Commission states that 45 percent of the explosive force creates blast and shock waves, 35 percent thermal radiation, 5 percent initial nuclear radiation and 15 percent residual radiation. The nuclear explosion generates a fireball which rises in the atmosphere with dust disturbed on the ground below rising upward.
The explosion would cause death, injury or damage to people and the environment for some distance from the blast and the nuclear radiation near the point of the explosion and in the fireball would cause death or injury to those receiving a radiation dose of sufficient strength.
The strength of the explosion, the temperature and humidity structure of the atmosphere and upper winds would determine the height to which the atomic cloud containing radioactive nuclear material would rise and the upper winds would determine the pattern of any fallout on the ground. Rain falling from the radioactive cloud would tend to transport radioactivity to the ground.
It is equally obvious that a forecast of the intensity of the explosion and the structure of the atmosphere would be important in estimating the risk of injury of those involved in the test, likely to visit the site, penetrate the cloud or experience the fallout.
People in Bright Sparcs - Timcke, Edward Waldemar
© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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