Australian Weather Calendar

Captions and picture bylines below.
George Ainsworth at Macquarie Island in 1912. Satellite imagery of sea-ice conditions.   Picture: NASA

March: Celebrating a century of Antarctic weather observations

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AUSTRALIANS have played important roles in the enduring challenge of taking observations in the extreme climate of Antarctica, with Bureau of Meteorology staff involved from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration early in the 20th century through to the present day. This valuable service is celebrated in Tasmania’s Antarctic Centennial Year which ends in June 2012.

In 1910, Griffith Taylor, the first Bureau officer to work in Antarctica, assisted Robert Scott’s race for the South Pole. Australian explorer Douglas Mawson saw value in weather observations for the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. He made Bureau meteorologist George Ainsworth officer-in-charge at Macquarie Island.

In the 1950s, the Bureau’s Bob Dingle collaborated with other researchers on measuring snow drift. Today’s sophisticated observation tools include the Bureau’s X-band station at Casey, which receives satellite data showing sea ice and cloud features. Modern technology builds on the legacy of the dedicated observing-systems work done by Bureau staff at Australia’s Antarctic stations.