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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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Atomic Weapons Tests—Mosaic G1 and G2 (continued)

In late April or early May 1956 Henry Phillpot, the meteorological team leader, joined Narvik and he, Dick Fotheringham and Bob Southern settled down to a regular program of synoptic analysis and briefing. Initially the members of the AWTSC (L. Martin, E. W. Titterton, L. J. Dwyer, W. A. S. Butement and C. E. Eddy) were located on Narvik but subsequently moved to the more comfortable HMS Alert moored not far away.

The computations of height of the radioactive cloud and likely fallout patterns were made by a G. Matthewman of the UK Meteorological Office and Jim MacDougall of AWRE on the basis of information supplied by the meteorologists and from the yield of the weapon which was top secret and not divulged to the meteorologists.

Bob Southern's submission to the Royal Commission gives his detailed assessment of the meteorological conditions at the time of firing of Mosaic G1 and G2 and the likely fallout.

The report of the Royal Commission indicates that the radioactive cloud of Mosaic G1 reached 21 000 feet, the predicted height being 14 000 to 17 000 feet, and reports that Len Dwyer added a margin of safety to UK predictions for Mosaic G2. The report also states that the height of the cloud from Mosaic G2 was 21 000 to 47 000 feet (some 10 to 15 000 feet above the estimated maximum) and that there was a marked increase in iodine 131 in thyroids of sheep and cattle over central and northern Australia. It concluded that the "Mosaic tests were conducted in a hurry under marginal meteorological conditions" and that "the report of the Safety Committee was grossly misleading".

I have no doubt that the meteorological advice given by Henry Phillpot, Dick Fotheringham and Bob Southern was as accurate as any meteorological team could have given. They were conscious of the limited probability of ideal conditions for firing. The AWRE predictions of cloud height were at times in error and not due to errors in meteorological information. The trials director would have been eager to test the two weapons in view of the considerable expense in mounting the trials. The AWTSC would have been in the difficult position of weighing the probability of risk to the Australian population against the urgency of completing the trials. As is always the case in such circumstances it is extremely difficult to determine whether there was any damage to the health of any of the Australian population.

People in Bright Sparcs - Butement, William Alan Stewart; Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Eddy, Cecil Ernest; Phillpot, Henry Robert

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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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