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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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ADP, EDP and Computers

From the time of his visit to the UK, Europe and North America in 1953 Len Dwyer had encouraged all Bureau staff to pay particular attention to the progress with what was then known as automatic data processing (ADP).

In preparing this section I am relying on my own memory, recent discussions with Gerry O'Mahony and a bundle of copies of references collected during my time in the Bureau relating to the general question of the use of computers for NWP.

Among these papers I came across a covering note written by Ross Maine on 25 August 1983 which reads as follows "Bill, I thought you might be interested in some of the early data and some of the personalities involved. The chronology is particularly relevant as I prepared it for my own records at that time because I was unhappy with Dr (Brian) Tucker's representation of the situation". The title of this three page unpublished chronology is listed in Appendix 2.

Following my appointment as Director of Meteorology I had recruited Brian Tucker to succeed me as the Bureau's Assistant Director (Research). There was some friction between Brian and Ross regarding the development of the Bureau's numerical prediction system. Without wishing to discuss this difference of opinion I believe that Ross' summary of the early days of NWP development is important and have used it in this and the following chapter.

The Bureau had an obvious need to employ some ADP machines to avoid the laborious entry and processing of climatological data described by Hogan (1986), Cornish (1996), Nelson (1937) and others. The obsessive boredom of the clerical work involved in compiling daily and monthly summaries of rainfall and temperature records and calculating mean and extreme monthly and annual values must have been extremely tedious for the clerks employed in the Climate Section of the Bureau's Central Office. Much of the data, such as that contained on sunshine cards and pluviograph charts, remained unanalysed.

Some of the first mechanical devices were the Marchant calculating machines, some of which are preserved in the Bureau's collection of museum pieces. Such mechanical devices had been developed earlier in this century and in May 1959, when the electronic computer was in its earlier stage of development, the Bureau's Statistical Section acquired a Marchant Decimagic calculator.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William; Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Maine, Ross; O'Mahony, Gerard (Gerry); Tucker, Gilbert Brian

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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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