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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

Cloud Seeding

Gerry O'Mahony and Allan Rainbird were two of the Bureau's staff heavily involved in CSIRO'S cloud seeding experiments. In 1946 former Bureau member Pat Squires and Eric Kraus conducted the first cloud seeding experiments. Members of the Bureau's Divisional Offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart and the Central Office in Melbourne had provided advice of weather conditions the CSIRO considered suitable for seeding. The Bureau had also cooperated by recruiting rainfall observers for CSIRO'S cloud seeding operations.

Various attempts had been made to artificially stimulate rainfall in Australia and other countries. As mentioned by Gibbs (1975) Clement Wragge sought to break a drought in Queensland by installing six Stiger vortex guns in the vicinity of Charleville in Queensland. It is not surprising that he was unsuccessful because Stiger had used his vortex guns for the purpose of reducing hail damage, a venture which seems more likely to have been successful. My reading of Russian experiments in the 1960s and 1970s aimed at reducing hail damage makes me believe that the shock wave of an explosion is likely to convert super-cooled water drops into ice and thus reduce damage to crops by limiting the size of hailstones.

Encouraged by Len Dwyer, Gerry and I studied the effects of cloud seeding. Gerry looked from a statistical point of view and I scrutinised the theory of the rain process as learnt from Houghton during my time at MIT.

However E. G. (Taffy) Bowen, Chief of the CSIRO Division of Radiophysics and famous for his scientific contributions to the development of radar in the UK during the war, was convinced that cloud seeding was a possible means of reducing the effects of drought in Australia. He was not impressed by our arguments that it would be wise to first study the rain process from a theoretical point of view and to take great care in designing cloud seeding experiments which would permit a statistical evaluation of the success or otherwise of his experiments. He rejected my suggestion that the design of experiments should be carried out jointly with Gerry O'Mahony and that evaluation of results should be carried out by a body wholly independent of his Division. I believed Gerry O'Mahony ideal for such an evaluation, being well qualified to examine statistical significance (especially after his year with Prof Pat Moran at the ANU) and having a meticulous approach when asked to make a scientific judgement.

People in Bright Sparcs - Bowen, Edward George (Taffy); Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; O'Mahony, Gerard (Gerry); Squires, Patrick; 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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