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Biographical entry Whitaker, Richard Northcroft (1947 - )

15 July 1947
Meteorologist and Science educator


Richard Whitaker has played a key role in meteorological research and in its promotion and teaching. He joined the Bureau of Meteorology in 1971 and retired in 2002 at the level of New South Wales Manger of Special Services. After leaving the Bureau Whitaker set up his own consultancy business called "Weathersmart Meteorological Services". He has also lectured widely to many bodies including the armed services, Apex, Rotary, Kiwanis, yacht clubs, aviation groups, rural industries and the Workers' Education Authority. Whitaker's passion for all things meteorological has led him to a successful career in the science communication and the media industry. He works on The Weather Channel's "This is Australia" program and on Vega FM Sydney radio as "The Weatherman" and has written many technical and lay publications including Australia's Natural Disasters - book about wild weather, earthquakes, droughts and bushfires.


After two years of national service, Richard Northcroft Whitaker, or Dick as he is commonly known, joined the Bureau of Meteorology. He first worked in forecasting and warnings where he interpreted satellite photographs, analysed numerical prognostic models and compiled public weather/aviation forecasts. In 1981 Whitaker was appointed Officer in Charge of the Facilities and Information Section where he provided government/private clients information and advice on climatology, rainfall intensities, insurance, instrumentation, legal work and student projects.

In 1984 he became Senior Forecaster at the Sydney Regional Forecasting Centre and started developing an interest in promoting meteorology to the general public. As New South Wales Manager of the Special Services Unit (1992-2002)Whitaker initiated the development of precipitation charts now used throughout print and electronic media, advanced print and electronic media presentations, display of satellite photograph on SBS Television and development of the "Farmweather" service, now a national product for delivery of weather forecast information to Australia's rural industries.

Edited from a biography prepared by Dick Whitaker, 2006


Education - Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc (Hons)) completed at Monash University, Victoria
1969 - 1971
Career position - National Service with the Royal Australian Regiment
Education - Diploma in Meteorology completed at the Bureau of Meteorology Training School, Melbourne
1971 - 2002
Career position - Joined the Bureau of Meteorology
1981 - 1984
Career position - Officer in Charge of the Facilities and Information Section (now known as Climate and Consultancy Section)
Award - Australia Day Achievement Award received
1984 - 1992
Career position - Senior Forecaster with the Sydney Regional Forecasting Centre
1992 - 2002
Career position - NSW Manager of the Special Services Unit
2002 -
Career position - Weathersmart Meteorological Services established

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Annette Alafaci