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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 (continued)

Another area of somewhat sensitive human relationships was with the engineer who worked for the Macleay County Council who, with Brian Watson, had developed a river height prediction system. He found difficulty in accepting that his method could be improved but engineering colleagues Brian Watson and Neil Body eventually won him over. Many years later a significant error in a forecast of river height in a flood on the Macleay River was blamed on the Bureau. However further examination revealed that the local engineer had amended the Bureau's forecast, a forecast which had been quite good.

The system which Neil and Brian developed depended heavily on a computer program written by Neil using the University of NSW computer. It involved the study of past rainfall and river occurrences in the valley.

It became apparent that three hourly observations of rainfall and river height would be required from a number of selected stations. When Neil told Bill Brann about the type of instruments required and the telecommunications system needed for transmission of observations, Bill cast serious doubts on whether they could be installed and maintained. At this time Bill had been disappointed by the performance of AWS in the Antarctic and his cautious nature made him reluctant to employ his limited staff on a project which might require much time in testing, installing and maintaining the stations, two of which were to be installed in rugged mountainous country. Len Dwyer called a meeting of hydrometeorological and instrument staff and after listening to Neil's proposal and Bill's doubts announced that the Bureau would buy the equipment which Neil required. The hydrometeorological staff were impatient with what they saw as inertia in acquiring, installing and maintaining the equipment and Bill was unhappy with having yet another project to supervise. Keith Henderson's appointment to the Communications Section must have eased the pressure on Bill.

Another component of the system which caused doubt was the requirement for the duty meteorologists in the Sydney Divisional Office to make forecasts of rainfall for three hourly intervals. However when they made trial forecasts using the three hourly observations of rainfall and the three hourly synoptic observations from the area they found they had skills they had not suspected.

People in Bright Sparcs - Brann, Harold Walter Allen Neale (Bill); Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Henderson, William Keith

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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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