Main Geophysical Observatory

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Main Geophysical Observatory


(full name, the A. I. Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory), the principal scientific institution for research in atmospheric physics and climatology. Located in Leningrad. One of the oldest scientific institutes in the world, it was founded in 1849 and until 1924 was called the Main Physical Observatory. Until 1929 it was the headquarters of the meteorological service. During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, when the observatory was under the leadership of Academicians A. I. Kupfer, L. M. Kemts, K. S. Veselovskii, G. I. Vil’d, M. A. Rykachev, and B. B. Golitsyn, a network of meteorological stations was established in Russia. Observations of solar radiation, atmospheric electricity, and meteorological conditions in the free atmosphere were also begun. At the same time, a weather bureau was created and the study of the climate of Russia was organized.

By a decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, signed by V. I. Lenin in 1921, the observatory was entrusted with the reestablishment and development of the meteorological service. Research into all scientific aspects of the atmosphere was carried out at the observatory by such men as A. A. Fridman, S. I. Savinov, N. N. Kalitin, P. A. Molchanov, and V. N. Obolenskii. Research is done at the observatory in the areas of dynamic meteorology, climatology, the physics of boundary layers of air, and other aspects of meteorology. The observatory also manages a network of terrestrial meteorological stations and has two field laboratories for experimental work in Voeikovo (near Leningrad) and in Karadag (Crimea).

In 1949 in conjunction with its centennial the observatory was renamed for the founder of Russian climatology, A. I. Voeikov. It has published Trudy Glavnoi geofizicheskoi observatorii since 1934 and offers postgraduate study and correspondence courses. In 1967 it was awarded the order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Rykachev, M. A. Istoricheskii ocherk Glavnoi fizicheskoi obser-vatorii za 50 let ee deiatel’nosti. St. Petersburg, 1899.
Glavnaia geofizicheskaia observatoriia imeniA. I. Voeikova za 50 let Sovetskoi vlasti. Leningrad, 1967.
Budyko, M. I. Glavnaia geofiziche skaia observatoriia imeni A. I. Voeikova. Leningrad, 1969.