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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

Chapter 4: A Year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962
Leonard Joseph Dwyer—A Complex Character
Reorganising the Bureau
Public Weather Services
Forecasts for the General Public
Importance of Radio Stations
The Advent of Television
Automatic Telephone Forecast Service
Wording and Verification of Forecasts
Services for Aviation
Atomic Weapons Tests
Atomic Weapons Tests—Mosaic G1 and G2
Atomic Weapons Tests—Buffalo 1, 2, 3 and 4
Atomic Weapons Tests—Operations Antler, 2 and 3
Atomic Weapons Tests—Minor Trials
Instruments and Observations
Radar/Radio Winds and Radar Weather Watch
Automatic Weather Stations
Meteorological Satellites
Tropical Cyclones
Bureau Conference on Tropical Cyclones
International Symposium on Tropical Cyclones, Brisbane
Design of Water Storages, Etc
Flood Forecasting
Cloud Seeding
Reduction of Evaporation
Rain Seminar
Cloud Physics
Fire Weather
Research and Special Investigations
International Activities
The International Geophysical Year
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean
International Symposium on Antarctic Meteorology
International Antarctic Analysis Centre
ADP, EDP and Computers
Management Conference
Services Conference
CSIRO and the Universities
Achievements of the Dwyer Years

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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Colonial meteorologists had realised that warnings of meteorological conditions leading to bushfires, floods, gales and droughts would be of great value to the general public as well as farmers and Government agencies, but knowledge of atmospheric processes causing these destructive phenomena was primitive.

Equally baffling was the lack of an observational network and telecommunication systems needed to produce a reliable warning system. Realising the damage done by floods and gales associated with the tropical cyclones which visited the coast of Queensland, Clement Wragge attempted to improve the observational network and predict their movement. He also became the Australian pioneer in artificial stimulation of rainfall by using Stiger vortex guns in an attempt to break a severe drought in Queensland.

After its creation, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology attached considerable importance to the development of warning services, but the lack of knowledge of atmospheric processes and the absence of adequate observational networks and telecommunication facilities prevented significant improvement of warning services. Nevertheless the first Commonwealth Meteorologist, H. A. Hunt, developed ideas of the causes of development and breaking of droughts and Captain J. K. Davis persuaded the Government to establish a cyclone warning station on Willis Island in the Coral Sea.

Little progress had been made in remedying these deficiencies of knowledge, observation and telecommunication at the time of the outbreak of World War II. Defence aspects led to the development of technology during the war that provided the promise of solution of the problems.

As mentioned earlier H. N. Warren and E. W. Timcke had seen the Bureau take advantage of technological developments in the fields of instruments, observations and telecommunications, but it took considerable time for the new systems to be developed. During the Dwyer years the benefits of improvements in instruments, observations and telecommunications began to be reflected in the quality of the services provided by the Bureau to the Australian community, and this was especially evident in the Bureau's warning services.

People in Bright Sparcs - Davis, John King; Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Hunt, Henry Ambrose ; Timcke, Edward Waldemar; Warren, Herbert Norman; Wragge, Clement Lindley

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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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