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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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In the following paragraphs the term hydrometeorology will be used to denote that part of meteorology which deals with water in its gaseous, liquid and frozen form. Our discussion will include the climatological, forecasting, warning and other aspects of rainfall. Other subjects will include evaporation, river flow, floods, droughts and design of water storages. Attempts to increase rainfall and reduce evaporation from water storages and research in cloud physics and river flow will also be covered.

One of the scientific papers of H. C. Russell in the late 1800s emphasised that it was difficult for those living in England to imagine the severity of Australian droughts with periods of many months without rainfall, during which rivers ceased flowing, dams dried out, crops withered and the land became completely barren. Australia was recognised as the world's driest continent. Some may argue that Antarctica has less precipitation and is therefore drier.

It was not surprising therefore that Russell and the other colonial meteorologists gave the highest priority to the measurement and recording of rainfall. When the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology was established in 1908 this emphasis on the measurement of rainfall continued and rainfall bulletins were published daily and summaries published annually. Droughts were sometimes followed by floods of unimaginable magnitude and the Bureau maintained a network of readers of river height with daily levels being published in newspapers and later included in the country hour broadcasts of ABC radio stations.

The Bureau's Divisional Offices issued flood warnings sometimes with an indication of the expected severity of flooding, but they were usually of limited accuracy and precision. These flood warnings continued in the Warren and Timcke years but at most stations observations of rainfall and river height were made only once daily and the warnings still lacked precision and accuracy.

The Bureau's Climatological Sections in Central Office and the Divisional Offices continued to study rainfall statistics and to publish climatological summaries which contained rainfall and other data. They also provided advice on average rainfall to farmers and engineers. In earlier years Henry Barkley had used probability paper to depict rainfall distributions and such studies interested State and Federal Government officials considering the construction of large water storages, such as the Burrinjuck Dam in NSW.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Russell, Henry Chamberlain; 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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