Historic measured meteorological data

Since the introduction of computers in the 1970s, MeteoSwiss has made regular attempts to make the hand-written meteorological data measurements that have been recorded since 1863 available in digital format.

Systematic meteorological measurements have been conducted in all parts of Switzerland since the middle of the 19th century. For more than 100 years, observers manually recorded the measured results in tables and sent them to MeteoSwiss by mail. Moreover, measuring strips from old recording measuring devices are available, on which the measured results are illustrated as graphs on paper. The digitalisation of these large amounts of analogue original observations involves the scanning of the data entry logs and the measuring strips, respectively and/or the actual digitalisation of the measured values, in order to make them available for computer-aided analyses.

The most recent advances in these efforts consist of the following activities:

Digitalisation

The most important measured parameters (temperature, precipitation, sunshine hours) of the Swiss National Basic Climatological Network (Swiss NBCN) were entered into the central Data Warehouse database of MeteoSwiss (link for the DWH page). All activities in connection with this digitalisation are documented in a technical report from MeteoSwiss:

 

Additional digitalisations of historic measured data are conducted continually and as needed with the goal of finalising the digital availability of all meteorological measurements.

Scanning

All historic data entry logs from approximately 1000 measuring stations in operation since the introduction of the systematic meteorological measurements in Switzerland in 1864 were scanned.

The scans include:

  • All data logs of the climatological measurements and observations since 1863
  • All data logs of the Swiss manual precipitation measuring network since the 1880s.
  • Ozone measurements conducted in Arosa since 1955
  • Original radio sounding measurements conducted in Payerne since 1967
  • Historic data products such as the daily weather bulletins since the start of compilation in 1880, MeteoSwiss annals since the start of compilation in 1864

The scans are available in pdf format on central MeteoSwiss servers. The collection consists of approx. 2 million pages of measured data divided into 150 thousand files.

If you are interested in historic data, please contact: 

Archiving of the original analogue data storage media

All original protocols and other original records such as recording strips from analogue measuring devices for wind, precipitation, pressure, temperature, radiation and sunshine were transferred to the Federal Archive in Bern, where they are now archived under optimal conditions and can be viewed directly.

Archive at MeteoSwiss

MeteoSwiss is still in the possession of its own archive. These days, it mainly contains information about the history of the measurements. For the interpretation of series of measurements and results of data analyses, it is important to know the measuring conditions at the respective point in time. After all, changes in the measuring conditions such as equipment changes, location changes or observer changes may have affected the measurements. A well-documented history of the station is an important prerequisite for the homogenization of lengthy series of measurements (link to the homogenisation page).