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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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Instruments and Observations

Len Dwyer realised that without an improvement in the network of observations there could be no improvement in services to the general public and to those in the public or private sectors with special requirements. In addition to maintaining the long-term program of radiosonde and radio/radar winds initiated by Warren and advanced in the Timcke years, there was the need to explore other avenues for filling the gaps in the observational network in Australia and surrounding oceans.

An important initiative during his period as Director of Meteorology was to ask senior staff in Central Office and Divisional Offices to identify where the most important action was required to fill the gaps. Almost all responses identified the Indian and Southern Oceans as the area where more observations were most urgently needed. Later paragraphs describe the efforts aimed at satisfying these needs.

The main activity in securing data from the Southern and Indian Oceans was the use of observations from passenger and cargo ships and other vessels on whaling or exploratory expeditions. In the nineteenth century, Maury's efforts to initiate international cooperation in collecting information from such vessels had resulted in a mass of information on ocean currents and other oceanographic and meteorological data which he used to propose preferred routes for sailing vessels. This initiative was soon put to practical use by ship's captains with considerable reductions in sailing time.

With the advent of wireless telegraphy, meteorologists soon realised the potential value of reports in preparing forecasts and warnings, particularly with regard to tropical cyclones. From the 1930s IMO (and later WMO) encouraged the use of ships' reports for both climatological and forecast and warning purposes. Australia's geographical isolation made ships' reports particularly valuable and Bureau staff regularly visited ships in local ports to encourage ships' officers to make observations and transmit them to the Bureau by wireless.

In the Dwyer years the Bureau appointed three ex-mariners as Port Meteorological Agents. Based in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, they briefed and educated ships' officers as part of a world-wide WMO scheme for making meteorological and oceanographic observations over the world's oceans, transmitting them by wireless to meteorological offices and recording them for storage in a world-wide data bank.

Len Dwyer was anxious to keep abreast of all developments in meteorological instrumentation and observations, having explored this subject in some detail during an overseas visit in 1954. He instructed those of us on official overseas visits to learn all we could of such developments and arranged for Bill Brann to make a special study of developments in the US and UK in July and August 1957.

People in Bright Sparcs - Brann, Harold Walter Allen Neale (Bill); Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Maury, Matthew Fontaine; Timcke, Edward Waldemar; 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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