Sonnblick Observatory (Sonnblick Observatorium) (SBO)
Core Data
Hosting Legal Entity
Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Rauris, PO: 5661 (Austria)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Scientific Description
Mission and objectives
The Sonnblick Observatory is located in the Austrian Central Alps at an elevation of 3100m. It is situated at the alpine main divide, which is a clear climatological border. It also lies in the “Nationalpark Hohe Tauern” which covers 1856 of the Austrian Alps. Research at Sonnblick is currently formulated in the research programme ENVISON. It covers three main topics: the atmosphere, the cryosphere, and the biosphere, in an extensive monitoring programme, and with many research projects. Sonnblick is outstanding with respect to its long-term climate observations and studies on glacier changes. Thus, the impact of Climate Change on the cryosphere is a major research topic at Sonnblick. Since 1886, Sonnblick is also involved in many international projects on atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics. Sonnblick Observatory cooperates with several Austrian and international universities/research institutions. Within the frame of the GAW-DACH (Global Atmosphere Watch Programme-cooperation Germany, Austria, Switzerland) cooperation, Sonnblick has a special partnership with the observatories Jungfraujoch (in Switzerland), Zugspitze and Hohenpeissenberg (both in Germany) for common research on atmospheric processes and climate change.

RI Keywords
Environmental sciences, Pollution, Paleolimnology, Limnology, Climatology, Alps, Isotopic chemistry, Geophysics, Alpine meteorology, Glaciology, Geomorphology, Geology, Hydrology, Atmospheric chemistry and physics, Climate change
RI Category
Solid Earth Observatories, including Seismological Monitoring Stations
In situ Earth Observatories
Atmospheric Measurement Facilities
Earth, Ocean, Marine, Freshwater, and Atmosphere Data Centres
Polar and Cryospheric Research Infrastructures
Environmental Management Infrastructures
Scientific Domain
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Accommodation and Space

Sonnblick Observatory is built together with an alpine hut “Zittelhaus” which offers additional accommodation and space.

User support

Permanent available staff available to assist with construction.


Access possible throughout the year either by cable car or by hiking. Because of its remote location in the Alps potential mountain hazards have to be considered during field work.

Full IT-support

High level database and internet.

Atmospheric, cryospheric, and biospheric research systems

Meteorological sensors, high level radiation sensors, isotopic measurements, aerololes and air pollution measurements, glaciological test fields, permafrost boreholes and permafrost monitoring.

Additional Data
Global Atmosphere Watch Programme-cooperation Germany, Austria, Switzerland (GAW-DACH)
Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN)