The Todd Weather Folios are a collection of continental Australian synoptic charts that were published from 1879 to 1909.
The synoptic scale in meteorology is a horizontal length scale of the order of 1000 kilometers or more. This corresponds to a horizontal scale typical of mid-latitude depressions. Most high and low-pressure areas seen on weather maps such as surface weather analyses are synoptic-scale systems, driven by the location of Rossby waves in their respective hemisphere. Low-pressure areas and their related frontal zones occur on the leading edge of a trough within the Rossby wave pattern, while high-pressure areas form on the back edge of the trough. Most precipitation areas occur near frontal zones. The word synoptic is derived from the Greek word συνοπτικός, meaning seen together.
The charts were created by Sir Charles Todd's office at the Adelaide Observatory. In addition to the charts, the folios include clippings of newspaper articles and telegraphic and handwritten information about the weather. The area covered is mainly the east and south-east of Australia, with occasional reference to other parts of Australasia and the world.The maps are bound into approximately six-month folios, 63 of which cover the entire period. There are approximately 10,000 continental weather maps along with 750 rainfall maps for South Australia, 10 million printed words of news text, and innumerable handwritten observations and correspondences about the weather.
The folios are an earlier part of the National Archives of Australia listed collection series number D1384.
The National Archives of Australia is an Australian Government agency that collects, preserves and encourages access to important Australian Government records. It describes itself as the memory of the nation.
With the advent of the telegraph it was possible to simultaneously collect data, such as surface temperature and sea-level pressure, to draw synoptic weather charts. With Charles Todd's appointment as Postmaster General to the Colony, he trained not only his telegraph operators, but also his postmasters as weather observers. These observers provided valuable data points that, in combination with telegraphed observations from the other colonies (including New Zealand), showed the development and progress of weather activity across a large part of the Southern Hemisphere. Todd's best known feat was his construction management of the Overland Telegraph from Adelaide to Port Darwin. This line of communication was critical to his capacity to create continent-wide synoptic charts as the telegraphic observations from the Outback enabled the connection of data points on the east coast of Australia with similar data points on the west and southern coasts. These continent-scale isobaric lines allowed Todd and his staff to draw synoptic charts that in the early 1880s had a greater breadth than any (known) synoptic charts drawn elsewhere in the world.
The folios grew out of Todd's desire to inform the colonists of South Australia of the immense size of weather systems and that in southern Australia, they generally progressed from west to east and not from east to west as commonly assumed by the early colonists.To accomplish this, Todd displayed daily the last 6 synoptic charts for public viewing then bound and stored them in the folios. The Todd weather folios consist not only of synoptic charts, but also include clippings from newspapers detailing weather statistics and events for all the eastern colonies of Australia. Newspapers from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne were collected as they came off the inter-colonial trains and were processed for pasting up next to the corresponding synoptic chart.
The collection from 1879 includes the earliest use of isobaric maps. It then develops through to the first maps posted for public consumption in the mid 1880s, and finishes with the ‘production maps’ of pre-Federalised weather observations and forecasting. The maps are accompanied by other information including the first in-house forecasts (and later published forecasts), early rainfall maps, weather observations from the logs of sailing ships, and telegrams and letters about significant weather events.
As the original documents are in a fragile state and not easily accessible, a team of volunteers of the Australian Meteorological Society (AMETA) hosted by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, has digitally imaged the full 31-year run of Todd's charts and accompanying text. The digital images have been handed to the National Archives of Australia for inclusion in the Australian Digital Heritage collection. Access to the 26,000 high quality images is also available on-line.
The volunteer group has also digitised data from the Todd folios which have been forwarded for inclusion in the International Surface Pressure Databank (ISPD). This has been done as part of Project ACRE(Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth) of the Climate Monitoring and Attribution Group, Meteorology Office Hadley Centre, UK. ACRE exists to gather data to fuel a weather ‘backcasting’ model extending back to 1750. The Todd folios contain data of value to this initiative, data that is no longer available through other records. In many cases, the original documents containing the data recorded by weather observers are no longer in existence or are irretrievably lost, which gives significance to their recording in Todd's synoptic charts and ancillary documents.
The Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth, ACRE, is an international science project, began in 2008, that recovers historical weather observations to reconstruct past global and local weather patterns and so support meteorological reanalysis. The project aims to collect weather data from the past 250 years by linking international meteorological organisations to support data recovery projects and the imaging and digitisation of historical meteorological observations made at, for example, inland stations, lighthouses, or by ships at sea or in ports. The project aims to create historical datasets that are spatially and temporally complete, so as to be of value at a local, or regional level, as well as on a global scale. ACRE aims to recover millions of historic weather observations. This data will be deposited into two databases,
Three key concerns have driven the project; they are to make this historical archive discoverable, accessible, and future-proofed. In an electronic format on the internet, discoverability and accessibility are greatly enhanced. With the National Archives agreement to store the images, future-proofing the electronic images is assured.
Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting. The study of meteorology dates back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the field after weather observation networks were formed across broad regions. Prior attempts at prediction of weather depended on historical data. It was not until after the elucidation of the laws of physics and more particularly, the development of the computer, allowing for the automated solution of a great many equations that model the weather, in the latter half of the 20th century that significant breakthroughs in weather forecasting were achieved. An important domain of weather forecasting is marine weather forecasting as it relates to maritime and coastal safety, in which weather effects also include atmospheric interactions with large bodies of water.
Surface weather analysis is a special type of weather map that provides a view of weather elements over a geographical area at a specified time based on information from ground-based weather stations.
Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the conditions of the atmosphere for a given location and time. People have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia and formally since the 19th century. Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere at a given place and using meteorology to project how the atmosphere will change.
A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for measuring atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and precipitation amounts. Wind measurements are taken with as few other obstructions as possible, while temperature and humidity measurements are kept free from direct solar radiation, or insolation. Manual observations are taken at least once daily, while automated measurements are taken at least once an hour. Weather conditions out at sea are taken by ships and buoys, which measure slightly different meteorological quantities such as sea surface temperature (SST), wave height, and wave period. Drifting weather buoys outnumber their moored versions by a significant amount.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.
A weather map displays various meteorological features across a particular area at a particular point in time and has various symbols which all have specific meanings. Such maps have been in use since the mid-19th century and are used for research and weather forecasting purposes. Maps using isotherms show temperature gradients, which can help locate weather fronts. Isotach maps, analyzing lines of equal wind speed, on a constant pressure surface of 300 or 250 hPa show where the jet stream is located. Use of constant pressure charts at the 700 and 500 hPa level can indicate tropical cyclone motion. Two-dimensional streamlines based on wind speeds at various levels show areas of convergence and divergence in the wind field, which are helpful in determining the location of features within the wind pattern. A popular type of surface weather map is the surface weather analysis, which plots isobars to depict areas of high pressure and low pressure. Cloud codes are translated into symbols and plotted on these maps along with other meteorological data that are included in synoptic reports sent by professionally trained observers.
Sir Charles Todd worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory 1841–1847 and the Cambridge University observatory from 1847 to 1854. He then worked on telegraphy and undersea cables until engaged by the government of South Australia as astronomical and meteorological observer, and head of the electric telegraph department.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is an Executive Agency of the Australian Government responsible for providing weather services to Australia and surrounding areas. It was established in 1906 under the Meteorology Act, and brought together the state meteorological services that existed before then. The states officially transferred their weather recording responsibilities to the Bureau of Meteorology on 1 January 1908.
The history of surface weather analysis concerns the timetable of developments related to surface weather analysis. Initially a tool of study for the behavior of storms, surface weather analyses became a work in progress to explain current weather and as an aid for short term weather forecasting. Initial efforts to create surface weather analyses began in the mid-19th century by using surface weather observations to analyze isobars, isotherms, and display temperature and cloud cover. By the mid-20th century, much more information was being placed upon the station models plotted on weather maps and surface fronts, per the Norwegian cyclone model, were being analyzed worldwide. Eventually, observation plotting went from a manual exercise to an automated task for computers and plotters. Surface analysis remains a manual and partially subjective exercise, whether it be via hand and paper, or via a workstation.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to meteorology:
Surface weather observations are the fundamental data used for safety as well as climatological reasons to forecast weather and issue warnings worldwide. They can be taken manually, by a weather observer, by computer through the use of automated weather stations, or in a hybrid scheme using weather observers to augment the otherwise automated weather station. The ICAO defines the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA), which is the model of the standard variation of pressure, temperature, density, and viscosity with altitude in the Earth's atmosphere, and is used to reduce a station pressure to sea level pressure. Airport observations can be transmitted worldwide through the use of the METAR observing code. Personal weather stations taking automated observations can transmit their data to the United States mesonet through the Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP), the UK Met Office through their Weather Observations Website (WOW), or internationally through the Weather Underground Internet site. A thirty-year average of a location's weather observations is traditionally used to determine the station's climate. In the US a network of Cooperative Observers make a daily record of summary weather and sometimes water level information.
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William Ernest Cooke, generally referred to as W. Ernest Cooke or informally Ernest Cooke, was an Australian astronomer, credited with a number of important scientific breakthroughs and improved methodologies in astronomical observations and star cataloguing. He was the first Western Australian Government Astronomer and established the Perth Observatory as one of the best equipped and productive establishments of its type in Australia.
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