Science for the Curious – Weather

Title: Weather
: Peter Lazarus/Richard Whitaker
: weekly
Monday, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
2 May 2022 – 23 May 2022
Next date:
2 May 2022
Delivery: online via zoom
: 20

The course will be presented by Richard Whitaker. Dick Whitaker is an Australian meteorologist and author. He has had an esteemed 30-year career as a meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology. Richard has authored or co-authored several books about weather and historical topics, having a particular interest in natural disasters. Peter Lazarus, one of our members, has been organising and running U3A courses with Hume U3A for over eight years and has recently run courses with Sunbury U3A. He has also presented courses on Linux and climate change for Hume Council.

This course consists of four sessions;

Week 1; Of Droughts and Flooding Rains In this session we look at the long history of droughts and floods in Australia and their devastating impact on society. From The Federation Drought of 1895 to 1902 to the widespread flooding which devastated parts of Qld. in 1974 to now and the use of long range forecasting.

Week 2; From Gods to Gigabytes- Brief History of Weather Forecasting In this session we will explore the fascinating story of humanity’s love affair with the weather – together with the strong desire to predict it. Many different forecasting methods have been tried down the ages such as using prayer and sacrifice to the Sky Gods, observing the behaviour of plants and animals, looking at cloud patterns and in more recent times using science, technology and mathematics as the main forecasting tools. Modern weather prediction is one of the more recent scientific endeavours.

Week 3; Demons of the Shoreline East Coast Lows – the Demons of the Shoreline This looks at the causes of east coast lows (ECLs) and several significant historical events they have produced. These include shipwrecks and periods of major coastal damage, including shoreline erosion, that continue intermittently today. The improvement in predicting the development of east coast lows is also looked at, together with the theoretical and instrumental progress that has underpinned this improvement.

Week 4; The Forecast for D Day The Forecast for D Day Arguably one of the most important weather forecasts in recorded history the weather prediction for Operation Overlord – the invasion of German occupied Normandy in June 1944 – is a fascinating story. The weather for the first day of the operation – called D Day – was of paramount importance and here we look at the behind-the-scenes decision making that went into the weather predictions involved. This is a joint U3A Sunbury and U3A Hume event. The course will be offered online.