Sonnblick observatory

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Zittelhaus (left) and the observatory in July 2007
Observatory in winter
Sunshine autograph on the platform of the observatory ( 3111  m )
Antennas of the observatory

The observatory Sonnblick is a device of the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) and stands on the top of the Salzburg market town Rauris belonging Sonnblick ( 3106  m ). The Rauriser Sonnblick is part of the Goldberg Group and is located in the core zone of the Hohe Tauern National Park .

Austria's highest meteorological observation station is staffed all year round and has only been unsupervised on four days since it was founded in 1886. The Sonnblickverein has owned the observatory since 1892 . Operation and maintenance are financed by the Federal Ministry of Science , the Austrian Academy of Sciences , as well as by association and sponsoring contributions.

Creation and operation

The second world congress of meteorologists in Rome in 1879 promoted joint research into the earth's atmosphere.

On the initiative of the meteorologist Julius von Hann , director of ZAMG, who took up a suggestion from Ignaz Rojacher from Rauris, the construction of an altitude observatory at the current location was to begin in 1885. The motivation was to explore the higher air layers from a station in the high mountains. This should reliably provide comparative values ​​for the ground measurements as well as for the balloon measurements emerging at that time.

The start of construction was delayed by a year for financial reasons. Ultimately, the construction costs of around 5,700 guilders were financed by the ÖGM and private donors. The weather station was built in 1886 with the support of the Rauris mine owner Ignaz Rojacher . To the construction site on the summit of the Rauriser Sonnblick at a height of 3,106 m, all of the material required for the construction had to be carried or pulled with makeshift cable cars.

On September 2, 1886, the highest observatory in the world, which operates all year round, was opened. It consisted of the "old weather tower and a small hut (next to it)" for sleeping and feeding the researchers, to which Dr. Zittel, President of the German and Austrian Alpine Club (DuOeAV) also contributed financially.

When the building was completely renovated in 1986, a station for air-chemical background measurements was added in addition to the meteorological station . The altitude of this measuring station, far away from emission sources, was of particular importance. This was the cornerstone for broad-based interdisciplinary environmental research .

The number of research projects has now increased significantly. Studies on air pollution control and the transport of air pollutants were expanded, and climate research accelerated. The causes of climate change and effects in the high mountains are being investigated. The geological aspect is relevant for the Sonnblick observatory.

The rock at the summit of the Hohe Sonnblick is criss-crossed with cracks. It is cemented by permafrost , which has been thawing and retreating due to climatic warming since 1980, so that the mountain begins to crumble. In 2003 and 2004, concrete brackets with rock anchors were therefore placed on the side of the summit. They should help to stabilize the rock under the foundations of the weather station and the Zittelhaus sufficiently.

The Sonnblick observatory is operated by the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG). Two ZAMG technicians are on duty in the station for 14 days. Among other things, they ensure that all measuring devices measure continuously and correctly. The modern infrastructure enables measurements of extremely weakly concentrated, but climatically very relevant trace substances in a clean air environment.

Thanks to year-round observation, the Sonnblick observatory has complete data series even from a time when these could not yet be automatically recorded, saved or transmitted. The longest uninterrupted climate time series for the high mountains results from this database. Exact data series over long periods of time are essential for recording climate changes .

Based on the results of a series of measurements of meteorological parameters that have been continuously recorded for over 130 years (up to 4 days after the end of World War I), a large number of projects on the topics of atmospheric physics and chemistry have been established at the Sonnblick Observatory in recent years.

Since May 2016, the observatory has been managed separately from the ZAMG Salzburg for the first time and for the first time by a woman, the German-Austrian meteorologist Elke Ludewig (* 1987).

On November 20, 2018, the new cable car to the Sonnblick Observatory was put into operation. The weatherproof lift offers space for 6 passengers in its closed gondola and can be driven at wind speeds of up to 80 km / h. The cable car is not available for mountaineers and ski tourers. However, it can be used in emergencies. The official opening took place on June 23, 2019.

Measurements and climatic properties

Since the beginning of the regular recordings, in addition to meteorological measurements (temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, duration of sunshine), among other things, air-electrical phenomena, cosmic radiation as well as glacier growth and changes have been observed.

Due to the location on the main Alpine ridge at over 3,100 meters above sea level in an almost free atmosphere, as well as the year-round stationary maintenance of the systems by ZAMG technicians, the original weather station has become an interdisciplinary research location with very good technical equipment over the past decade. The orientation and thus the goals of the individual research projects have become very diverse. Several research institutions are involved in Austrian contributions: The Federal Environment Agency measures atmospheric trace gases, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna measures the vertical ozone column and UV-B radiation, and the Technical University Vienna measures aerosols.

National and international universities as well as research institutes in various fields (e.g. meteorology , glaciology , chemistry , radiation , radioactivity , geology , biology , geodesy ) use the observatory, which annually works on more than 40 interdisciplinary research programs.

The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) is a worldwide program of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for the large-scale monitoring of the chemical composition of the earth's atmosphere. Measurements away from sources of pollution should enable changes to be recognized at an early stage. In May 2016 the Sonnblick observatory was named one of the 40 highest quality stations of the Global Atmosphere Watch. Around 300 stations worldwide take part in GAW.

On January 1, 1905, the Sonnblick observatory measured -37.4  ° C, the lowest temperature ever measured in Austria under normal conditions. Even lower values ​​were only found in cold air lakes , e.g. B. in the green hole determined. The greatest snow depth in Austria was measured on May 9, 1944 at 11.9 m on the Sonnblick.

Climate table

Monthly average temperatures and precipitation for Sonnblick
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) -9 -10 -8th -6 -1 2 5 5 2 -2 -6 -8th O −3
Min. Temperature (° C) −14 −14 -13 -10 -6 -3 0 0 -3 -6 -10 -13 O −7.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 127.5 110.1 152.2 159.0 139.1 146.0 164.4 147.9 116.9 120.0 145.2 144.6 Σ 1,672.9
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.88 4.7 4.47 4.27 4.86 4.85 5.72 5.8 5.36 5.26 3.91 3.45 O 4.7
Rainy days ( d ) 15th 14th 18th 19th 17th 18th 18th 16 14th 13 15th 16 Σ 193
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

See also


The Sonnblick calls - front cover, 3rd edition 1954

Web links

Commons : Observatorium Sonnblick  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The meteorologist Elke Ludewig on researching the world climate., broadcast on May 28, 2017.
  2. Elke Ludewig, Salzburgwiki, May 12, 2016 - Aug. 28, 2016, accessed May 28, 2017.
  3. New cable car to the Sonnblick opened on ORF-Salzburg on November 20, 2018, accessed on November 20, 2018.
  4. ↑ The new cable car to the Sonnblick is opened on from November 20, 2018, accessed on November 20, 2018
  5. Science: Sonnblick: New cable car opens on ORF-Salzburg on June 23, 2019, accessed on June 23, 2019.
  6. Sonnblick: New cable car opened on ORF from June 23, 2019, accessed on June 25, 2019.
  7. Elke Ludewig takes over the management of the Sonnblick Observatory ZAMG, May 11, 2016, accessed May 28, 2017.
  8. 130 years of the Sonnblick Observatory., accessed on April 16, 2017 .

Coordinates: 47 ° 3 ′ 14.5 ″  N , 12 ° 57 ′ 27.2 ″  E