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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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Flood Forecasting

The disastrous floods in NSW in 1955 had emphasised the need for more precise, more accurate and more timely issue of flood warnings.

It was obvious that the requirement for a better flood forecasting system was:

  1. a more detailed, timely and accurate forecast of rainfall;

  2. a forecast of the amount of rainfall which would be stored in vegetation and on or under the ground so that a forecast could be made of the amount of water entering tributaries and rivers (run-off); and

  3. a forecast of river levels at a series of locations along the river, particularly in areas where stock were grazed and where measures could be taken to protect human life and property.

To attempt to introduce such a system on a broad scale was futile. There was pressure on Len Dwyer to develop a system for the Hunter River but Len said "everyone talks to me about the Hunter. I want something simpler to start with". The Macleay County Council had sought the help of the Bureau after the 1955 floods and this no doubt persuaded Len Dwyer to select that catchment on the north coast of NSW for the development of the Hydrometeorological Section's first flood forecasting system. Brian Watson, a hydrological engineer who had worked on the Macleay catchment for the County Council at Kempsey was recruited to serve in the NSW Divisional Office.

Len Dwyer later arranged for Allan Rainbird and Neil Body to attend the first session of the WMO Commission for Hydrological Meteorology (CHM) in Washington DC in April 1961. An earlier paragraph has described the discussion Len Dwyer had with the chairman of the Overseas Visits Committee when told that only one of the two could make the visit.

The creation of CHM within WMO caused a similar bunfight to that which occurred in Australia when the Bureau first sought to enter part of the hydrological field. Some overseas directors of meteorology were afraid that the much larger hydrological services in their countries would absorb their meteorological services and there was long and acrimonious debate extending well beyond the Dwyer years. There is no doubt that Len Dwyer and Reichelderfer (Chief of the US Weather Bureau) would have been instrumental in overcoming this opposition when the subject was debated in the WMO Congress and its Executive Committee.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph

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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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