The MeteoSwiss national monitoring centre ensures that the instruments within the automatic monitoring network function correctly. Maintenance teams are deployed in the event of faults. In order to guarantee a high level of quality, the measurement instruments are checked regularly.
The MeteoSwiss automatic monitoring network (SwissMetNet) comprises – together with the automatic precipitation stations – more than 260 monitoring stations (as at 2015). The stations transmit data on the weather and climate to the central MeteoSwiss database every ten minutes. The task of the national monitoring centre in Payerne is to guarantee that this large volume of data is of a high quality. To this end, various diagnostic tools are used in order to identify faults at stations or deviations in instrument readings. Among other aspects, the flow of data to the data server is monitored in real time and the coherence of the data is checked with different tests.
In addition to the automatic monitoring network, the instruments of the SACRaM (Swiss Alpine Climate Radiation Monitoring) network as well as the measurement instruments (wind profilers, microwave radiometers) for the CN-MET wind analysis and forecasting system for nuclear incidents are also monitored in Payerne.
Repair and maintenance work
The task of those responsible for the network monitoring activities is to identify any problems that may arise and to initiate the required steps to rectify them. As soon as the monitoring station is identified, the monitoring centre can instruct one of the four regional MeteoSwiss maintenance centres to repair the problems hampering the measurement operations. These regional centres are located in Davos, Locarno, Payerne and Zurich.
The operation of the automatic monitoring network in Switzerland represents a specific challenge, in particular due to the country's sometimes extreme weather conditions. Careful maintenance work is thus all the more important. Each station is inspected once a year, with its respective instruments being cleaned thoroughly and calibrated. The stations are also checked every one to two weeks in order to maintain the surrounding terrain and clean the instruments, for example.
Documentation of measures
All measures to rectify faults and maintain the devices are documented in a database. This ensures that current and future users are informed of any events that have occurred. In particular, this is of great significance for the homogenisation of climate data.