Berlin Environmental Atlas

02.14 Groundwater Temperature (Edition 1999)

map view Text in Deutsch verfuegbar content    back forward

Surface Form and Groundwater Situation

In the nearly east-west direction runs the Warschau-Berlin glacial valley separating the Barnim-Plateau in the north of the city from the Teltow-Plateau and the Nauener Plateau in the south (Fig 3). The terrain elevations of the glacial valleys accounts for 30 to 40 m above sea level, while the plateaus lie an average of 40-60 m above sea level. Singular hills rise over 100 meters above sea level (cf. map 01.08, SenStadtUmTech 1998).

Fig. 3: Geological Scheme of Berlin

In Berlin the pore space of the predominantly sand and gravel sediments are, over 150-200 meters, completely filled with groundwater until just below the surface. This is used as the drinking water supply for the city. The distance from the groundwater to the surface fluctuates depending on the morphology and geology between 0 m and a few meters in the glacial valley as well as five to over 30 meters on the plateaus (cf. map 02.07, SenStadtUmTech 1997).

The groundwater removal of drinking and industrial water extraction has led to the formation of wide funnels in the surface of groundwater. This changes the natural depth and flow velocity of the groundwater, as well as the natural flow direction of the groundwater. For that reason in the areas with well galleries near the rivers and lakes there are influent conditions, that means the near surface water infiltrates as bank filtrate in the groundwater. Additionally the groundwater is warmed throughout the year (for example in the area of the Spree) by the cooling of heating power stations.

Population structure and climatic relationships

The city of Berlin has a polycentral settlement structure that is characterized by the existence of two main centers, smaller city centers and dense areas of living, green, trade and industry areas. Larger business and industrial areas normally lie on settlement and development axes directed by the city radials from the center to the outskirts as well as on canalized surface waters.

Here is a largely simplified look at the city (Fig. 4):


  • without settlement, primarily vegetation
  • with low to medium settlement density
  • with high settlement density, city center and
  • industrial areas

Fig. 4: Simple Diagram of the Urban Structure of Berlin

The local climatic situation in Berlin shows above all that the structurally high-condensed city center has profound changes in the heat regime compared to the surroundings. By anthropogeneous activities, energy passes as heat into the city-atmosphere. So the middle year air temperature in the outskirts (Dahlem) amounts to 8,9 °C. In comparison the average temperature in the city center is over 10 °C (cf. map 04.02, SenStadtUm 1993b).

map view Text in Deutsch verfuegbar content    back forward