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Meteorological Work in Australia

Meteorological Work in Australia: A Review

Map No. 1—February 18th, 1890

Map No.2—January 14th, 1891

Map No.3—March 12th, 1891

Map No. 4, February 5th. 1890, and Map No .5, May 27th, 1893

Map No. 6, June 22nd, 1893

Map No. 7, July 14th, 1893

Seasonal Forecasts




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Meteorological Work in Australia: A Review (continued)

The functions of the Committee were divided into three great branches:—

  1. Ocean Meteorology.—The object of this brines is to deduce the meteorology of all parts of the ocean from observations made by ships. The surface of the ocean is conventionally portioned off by lines of latitude and longitude into a vast number of sectors and the meteorology of each section is discussed as though it were an independent district. The issue of instruments to ships is also undertaken by this branch.
  2. Telegraphic Weather Information.—This branch of the functions of the Committee comes most prominently before the public, but it must not therefore be assumed that it is the most useful or important part of their work.
  3. Land Meteorology of the Isles.—The new feature of this branch consists in the establishment of seven land observatories, provided with self-recording instruments. Its object is twofold: first, to give accurate data for a discussion of the law of storms and weather changes; and, secondly, to ascertain meteorological constants, thereby performing with great precision for the land stations that which is accomplished with moderate precision by branch I. for the entire ocean.

On the recommendation of the Committee, Mr. H. Scott, F.R.S., was appointed director of the meteorological office, Capt. Toynbee, R.N., as marine superintendent, and Mr. Balfour Stewart as director of the Kew Observatory.

Shortly after, the storm warnings, which had been temporarily suspends, were resumed, and daily forecasts have been issued up to the present time with a very fair amount of success. It soon became evident, however, that concerted action to secure uniformity of systems and a more complete organisation was urgently necessary; and, on the invitation of Dr. Bruhns of Leipzig, Dr. Wild of St. Petersburg, and Dr. Jelinck of Vienna, a meeting of meteorologists was convened and held at Leipzig in 1872. The invitation stated that "the development of interest in meteorological investigation in modern times among all civilised nations has brought into prominence a requirement which has long been felt, viz., that of greater uniformity of procedure in different countries." This was followed by congresses at Vienna in 1873, at London in 1874, at Rome in 1879, the last being at Munich in 1891.

In the United States, where they have done more, perhaps, than any other country, a very complete system was organised in charge of the Chief Signal Officer, no expense being spared. and for many years three synoptic weather charts were issued daily.

Turning again to Australia, we found the same need for uniformity and co-operation between the colonies, and, at the instance of Mr. Russell, a conference was held at Sydney in 1879, which was attended by the following delegates:—Mr. Russell, Government Astronomer, New South Wales; Mr. Ellery, Government Astronomer, Victoria; Mr. Todd, Government Astronomer, South Australia; Sir James Hector, K.C.M.G., Inspector of Meteorological Stations, New Zealand.

People in Bright Sparcs - Ellery, Robert Lewis John; Russell, Henry Chamberlain; Todd, Charles

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Todd, C. 1893 'Meteorological Work in Australia: A Review' Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science vol. v, 1893, pp. 246-270.

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