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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



Contact us

Tropical Cyclones

One of the most important Bureau services is warnings and other advice on tropical cyclones. Holland and McBride (1997) tell how on 3 March 1899 Clement Wragge, Australia's first tropical cyclone forecaster, was analysing his weather chart of the Australian region and paying particular attention to the north Queensland coast and the Coral Sea and concluding that "conditions are again becoming suspicious . . . although no danger yet threatens the Queensland coast we must keep a bright lookout".

Holland and McBride relate that during the evening of 4 March a severe tropical cyclone now known as the Bathurst Bay Hurricane destroyed most of the fleet of pearling luggers anchored in the Bay with the loss of 300 lives. Poor Wragge continued in ignorance of the destruction until news reached Brisbane some time later.

A detailed account of the cyclone and the associated storm surge which raised the level of the ocean to an estimated height of 15 metres (50 feet), together with a graphic description of the destruction of luggers and shore installations has been described by Whittingham (1958). His report, made after painstaking research of documents, was typical of the scientific approach of Herbie Whittingham, my colleague of the Allied Air HQ meteorological section, Brisbane, during the war.

Wragge, like many Australian meteorologists in later years, was disadvantaged by a lack of knowledge of the nature of tropical cyclones and a completely inadequate network of observations which made it impossible to detect the cyclone, and predict its movement and intensity.

It was not until the US Weather Bureau used the observations of military reconnaissance aircraft during and after World War II that the details of the structure of the tropical cyclone (called a hurricane in the North Atlantic and a typhoon in the North-west Pacific) became well known. Even in the Dwyer years there was still some discussion of the mechanism associated with the deepening and movement of tropical cyclones but the improvement in surface and upper air observational networks and the realisation that the 10 cm radars acquired by H. N. Warren for wind-finding could be used for the detection of tropical cyclones gave promise of an improvement in the Bureau's tropical cyclone warning service.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Warren, Herbert Norman; Whittingham, Herbert E. (Herb); 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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