Süring-Haus (PIK)

Hauptgebäude des meteorologischen Observatoriums Potsdam 1893. Ostansicht.Quelle: TU Berlin Architekturmuseum

Apart from the former Astrophysical Observatory, the former Royal Meteorological Observatory Potsdam (MOP) with the Long-Term Meteorological Station (DWD) belongs to those buildings housing PIK on Telegraphenberg which are most valuable in terms of science history.

The site on Telegraphenberg hill envisaged in 1871 was firstly rejected due to its peripheral situation, since the observatory, as a place of teaching, should be easily accessible and, for weather-forecast distribution, close to the capital’s authorities. Finally in 1885, it was decided that these task should be split: the central department and its archive, being independent from the Statistical Office by then, moved to the Bauakademie (Schinkel’s college of architecture and construction) in Berlin, and a new professorship in Meteorology was established at Berlin University. The observation department got new buildings in Potsdam: in 1992, the Meteorological Observatory was ready and delivered the daily weather forecast from then on.

The anemometers were installed on the flat roof of the 32-metre-high tower as well as reservoirs for a separate water supply. Due to the nearby magnetic observatory, only little iron could be used for construction, so filigree iron guardrails were abandoned.

The house owes its present name to Reinhard Süring, who was a long-time director of the Meteorological Observatory Potsdam (1909-1932 and 1945-1950).

On 21 June 1944, during an English air attack in the Second World War, the building was hit by two firebombs which set the roof alight. A simple wooden roof was reconstructed still in summer of the same year. The window panes which were destroyed during the war have partially been replaced by photo plates with shots of clouds.

In November 1945, the Meteorological Central Observatory Potsdam (MZOP) was established by command of the Supreme Commander of the Soviet Military Administration.

After the foundation of the Meteorological Service of the GDR (MD) in 1950, the building housed the Main Observatory Potsdam (HOP), later the Meteorological Main Observatory Potsdam (MHO). Since 1990, the Deutsche Wetterdienst (DWD, German weather service) has been located in this house.

In February 2007, PIK moved to the reconstructed building.

Since the founding of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, more than 500 long-term meteorological series which begin before 1900 and are based on daily values have been gathered from all over the world. This unique collection supplies a good and representative survey of the quality of long-term series available worldwide. From the table, one can see that the meteorological series of the Long-Term Meteorological Station Potsdam is unique in having continuously carried out the whole measuring programme without any station move, measuring gap, or change of instruments.

The building still serves its initial purpose – although the Deutsche Wetterdienst is now accommodated only in the tower.

April 2009, Foto: L. Österle

Homepage of Long-Term Meteorological Station Measurements series of Long-Term Meteorological Station Potsdam Telegraphenberg. The station's measurements series are representative for the surrounding region for various spatial and temporal scales.