01.02.2017: New radiosonde SRS-C50 commissioned
On February 1 2017, the new radiosonde SRS-C50, which substitutes the previously operational radiosonde SRS-C34, was introduced at the Aerological Station Payerne of MeteoSwiss. There, atmospheric data has been collected since 1950 – by radiosondes amongst others. During its ascent in the atmosphere, the SRS-C50 measures air temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind; as well as it measures the ozone concentration during three soundings per week. The radio soundings in Payerne thereby contribute to the observation of the essential climate variable ‘Ozone’, and complement Switzerland’s longest measurement series in Arosa. The Aerological Station in Payerne is part of the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network, an international reference network. GRUAN aims to meet the special needs of climate observation, for which radio sounding measurements of high quality are important. This is continuously ensured through the new radiosonde.
Inbetriebnahme der neuen Radiosonde SRS-C50 (in german)
26.01.2017: 14th GCOS Roundtable
On the 26th of January 2017, the Swiss GCOS Office organized the 14th national roundtable regarding the Global Climate Observation System. The event this year focused on developing the GCOS Switzerland Strategy 2017-2026. The latter is strongly influenced by the GCOS Implementation Plan for a global observation system, published in 2016. Around 40 participants from different national institutions met at Zurich Airport for the GCOS Roundtable.
ProClim Meldung zum Rundtisch (in german)
26.09.2016: Quality assessment of Swiss Phenology Network
Phenology refers to the growth and development of plants that are strongly influenced by the climate. In Switzerland, the first phenological observations took place in 1760, and the national observation network exists since 1951. However, the series of measurements of the Swiss Phenology Network (SPN) are of different quality, whereby high quality and homogeneity of measurement series are an important criterion for the global climate monitoring system (GCOS). For this reason, the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern, commissioned by the Swiss GCOS Office, will undertake a quality assessment and classification of the Swiss phenological observation series.
24.08.2016: Measuring the temperature of Swiss rivers – long series of temperature measurements of watercourses
The Federal Office for the Environment FOEN has been measuring the temperatures of select rivers since 1963. This comparatively long series of measurements shows a distinct trend towards higher temperatures in watercourses, caused by global warming and intense use of river water for cooling. Currently, watercourse temperature is not considered as an essential climate variable. However, the latest GCOS status report of 2015 points out its increasing importance.
22.08.2016: Study on integrated lake ice monitoring in Switzerland
The observation of the essential climate variable ‘lakes’ comprises, amongst others, the observation of lake ice. According to the Inventory Report of Swiss Climate Observations, these measurements are not carried out systematically and are without legal grounds. The ETH, in cooperation with the University of Bern (Institute of Geography) and the Eawag, will work on recommendations for integrated lake ice monitoring in Switzerland. The project is based on an agreement with the Swiss GCOS Office.
26.11.2015: Monitoring of Swiss Glaciers assured over the long term
Being an alpine country, the monitoring of glaciers is of great significance for Switzerland. On November 26th 2015, MeteoSwiss, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) signed an agreement for the coordination of the Swiss glacier monitoring network (GLAMOS) . The main objective of GLAMOS is the long-term, regional glacier monitoring in Switzerland. Based on the decision taken by the Federal Council on June 6th 2008, MeteoSwiss financially supports the glacier observations. The ETH Zurich, along with the universities of Zurich and Fribourg, are responsible for the operational implementation.
15.09.2015: Continuation of the most important Swiss Snow Water Equivalent Measurements ensured
Snow cover is not only a relevant economic factor for mountainous regions, but also a GCOS Essential Climate Variable (ECV). Based on the decision of the Federal Council of June 6 2008, MeteoSwiss and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) signed an agreement for the continuation of the most important snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements. Under the present agreement, the constant SWE measurements at selected sites in Switzerland are being operated by the SLF as a contribution to GCOS Switzerland, and are financially supported by MeteoSwiss.
27.04.2015: Volcanoes, Climate and Society - Bicentenary of the great Tambora eruption
The eruption of the Indonesian vulcano Tambora in April 1815 changed global climate dynamics significantly with the following year to be recorded as the “Year Without a Summer”. Two hundred years later the conference “Volcanoes, Climate and Society”, which took place from 7 -11 April 2015 in Bern, brought together scientists and historians to review and discuss the historical eruption. Important underlying data for the reconstruction of the environmental and societal impacts on Switzerland and Europe stem from the database EuroClimhist, which is supported by the Swiss GCOS Office at MeteoSwiss since 2010.
17.03.2015: Soil moisture included in the Swiss inventory of climate measurement series
Soil moisture affects the water and energy cycle, and is therefore an important variable of our climate system. The national inventory of climate measurement series has now been complemented by the essential climate variable “Soil Moisture”. The new chapter in the Swiss inventory of climate measurement series report is available online and provides an overview of the most important soil moisture measurements in Switzerland.
Soil moisture (german)
22.08.2014: 100-year anniversary of glacier measurements at Claridenfirn
On the occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the mass balance measurements at the Claridenfirn a scientific symposium took place on August 22 at the ETH Zurich. Several lectures discussed the importance of the Claridenfirn measurements for glaciology. The symposium was followed by a two-day excursion to the Claridenfirn, where snow accumulation in winter and ablation in summer has been measured at individual stakes since 1914.
01.05.2014: Geometric Accuracy of Satellite-Based Products of GCOS Switzerland
As a result of an agreement between MeteoSwiss and ETH Zurich, a project which was recently concluded, studied the geolocation accuracy of three satellite sensors commonly used for climate applications: SEVERI, MODIS, and AVHRR. Earth observation satellites are increasingly being used for climate-related measurements and for the monitoring of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). To avoid errors, it is important that georeferencing of satellite imagery is accurate and in accordance with the requirements of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).
27.02.2014: 11th GCOS Roundtable
On January 28, 2014, about 50 scientists gathered at Meteoswiss in Zürich to participate in the 11th GCOS Roundtable. An overview as well as the latest developments of National and International GCOS activities were presented, with the focus being the role of satellites for the monitoring of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). This observational data was highlighted to be an important resource in the preparation of the fifth IPCC Assessment Report.
GCOS Round Table
01.10.2013: Dataset of lake water surface temperature in Switzerland 1989-2010
Lakes may react sensitively to changes in climate. In the framework of an agreement between MeteoSwiss and the University of Bern, a long term satellite-based dataset of Lake Water Surface Temperatures (LWST) was generated for 15 Swiss lakes. Satellite-based LWST can complement existing in-situ measurement networks and serve as a basis to derive freeze and thaw dates of alpine lakes . The dataset covering the period from 1989 to 2010 has been made available by the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern.
25.02.2013: 10th GCOS Roundtable
On January 31, 2013 about 60 representatives of various institutions from science, politics and government gathered for the 10th National GCOS Roundtable. In numerous keynote lectures, the past, present and future activities of the National Climate Observing System (GCOS Switzerland) were portrayed and discussed. On the occasion of this year's anniversary, the new GCOS Switzerland short film "Local observations - for global understanding" was presented.
GCOS Round Table
31.05.2012: 'Swiss GCOS Data in International Data Centers' - Report now available in English
The report 'Swiss GCOS data in international data centers', first published in November 2011 by the Swiss GCOS Office, is now also available in English. The report summarizes information about the availability of Swiss GCOS data in international data centers.
Swiss GCOS Reports
30.05.2012: Successful launch of the new platform WeltraumSchweiz
On Thursday, May 24 the new online platform www.WeltraumSchweiz.ch was presented to the media. Four presentations by different partners addressed the importance of satellites for Switzerland. The Swiss GCOS Office highlighted the important contribution of satellite-based Earth observation for improved weather forecasts as well as for systematic climate observation as a contribution to the National Climate Observing System (GCOS Switzerland).
Swiss GCOS Reports
04.05.2012: Euro-Climhist is now online
The release of Euro-Climhist was the occasion for the Symposium 'The relevance of historical documentary data for the ongoing debate about climate and natural hazards' that took place on May 3rd, 2012. The new online database is of use for the analysis of climate change and natural hazards by science, administration or planning bureaus. Euro-Climhist contains more than 120'000 data sets for the period 1550-1864. This data set includes historical data on weather, climate and natural hazards in Switzerland. The data base was developed at the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern with support by the Swiss GCOS Office located at MeteoSwiss.
09.02.2012: 9th GCOS Roundtable
On January 26, 2012 around 40 partner institutions involved in climate observation in Switzerland gathered at MeteoSwiss in Zurich for the annual GCOS Roundtable. The topics covered by the meeting included an overview of national and international GCOS activities as well as presentations on the latest developments and activities within the National Climate Observing System (GCOS Switzerland).
GCOS Round Table
17.11.2011: New report on Swiss GCOS data in international data centers
The Swiss GCOS Office has recently published a new report that summarizes information about the availability of Swiss GCOS data in international data centers. Both the flow of data and the responsibilities are described. The reports reflects the great - mostly voluntary - efforts of the participating institutions. Furthermore, the current status of various essential climate variables (ECVS) is documented.
12.09.2011: Coordination of the SDC project CATCOS by the Swiss GCOS Office
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) funds the project CATCOS (Capacity Building and Twinning for Climate Observing System). CATCOS is carried out between 2011 and 2013 and involves several countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. The project aims at the improvement of climate observations in areas with large data gaps and the formation of competent professionals.
29.11.2010: Satellite Retrieval of Lake Surface Temperatures of Swiss Lakes
Lake surface temperatures contain valuable information on the regional climate. The Remote Sensing Research Group (RSGB) at the Institute of Geography of the University of Berne has been archiving satellite data (NOAA AVHRR) for more than 20 years. RSGB is presently using these data in the context of the Swiss GCOS programme to retrieve lake surface temperatures and to construct time series for various Swiss lakes for the period 1985 thru 2010.
28.09.2010: International Summit of Glacier Experts in Zermatt
The first week in September saw international glaciologists flock to the Swiss alpine resort Zermatt to gather in the decennial 'World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) General Assembly'. Beneath the impressive Matterhorn, the challenges and future of glacier observation were discussed. The WGMS General Assembly was preceded by the concluding meeting of 'GlobGlacier', a European Space Agency (ESA) project targeting the use of satellite data for glacier monitoring.
World Glacier Monitoring Service
28.06.2010: Euro-Climhist informs on the history of climate and natural catastrophes in Switzerland and Europe
Based on the decision by the Swiss Federal Council on GCOS from June 2008, this system is operated on a long-term basis at the Institute of History of the University of Berne by the Section for Economic, Social and Environmental History (WSU) with financial support of GCOS Switzerland and the Oeschger Centre. The information system Euro-Climhist provides for the continuous recording, archiving and analysis of historical data on natural catastrophes, extreme weather events, phenological data etc.
24.02.2010: Payerne becomes reference site in the global GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN)
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has invited the MeteoSwiss aerological station in Payerne to become part of a global network of reference sites for the climate observation of the atmosphere. The Payerne station is among the first 15 of its kind worldwide.
11.01.2010: CO2 measurements at the Jungfraujoch by the University of Bern in the context of GCOS Switzerland
Anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming. Since the beginning of 2010 MeteoSwiss ensures the continuation of the CO2 measurements at the Jungfraujoch carried out by the University of Bern. The High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch is one of the 25 global stations of the "Global Atmosphere Watch" (GAW) programme of the World Meteorology Organization (WMO).
CO2 measurements at the Jungfraujoch
14.12.2009: Continuation of valuable snow water equivalent measurements in the Wägital
On the basis of snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements, important conclusions for the changes in Alpine winter precipitations can be done. Based on the decision of the Swiss Federal Council on June 6, 2008 concerning the financing of valuable climate measurements series in the context of GCOS, Meteodat GmbH and MeteoSwiss signed a long-term agreement on December 14, 2009, coming into effect on January 1, 2010. Meteodat GmbH is thereby charged with continuing the important snow-hydrological measurements in the Wägital.
19.05.2009: Agreement between MeteoSwiss and University of Zurich signed
Based on the Swiss Federal Council's decision on June 6, 2008 to ensure the financing of valuable long climate measurement series, the first of several agreements was signed on May 19, 2009. Due to the crucial importance of a global long term monitoring of glaciers for the observation of the climate system, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) at the department of geography of the University of Zurich will be run by order of MeteoSwiss as a contribution to GCOS as of 2010.
World Glacier Monitoring Service
29.01.2009: Special postage stamp "Protect the glaciers" launched at GCOS-Roundtable
At the GCOS Round Table the new postage stamp "Protect the glaciers" was first introduced; the stamp, which is an initiative by the Swiss Post and the Universities of Zurich and Fribourg, demonstrates impressively how sensitive our Alpine glaciers react to climate change. It will be available at post offices as of March 5th, 2009.
GCOS Round Table
14.11.2008: Local observations... for global understanding
After the publication of the detailed report "National Climate Observing System" (GCOS Switzerland) in 2007, the Swiss GCOS Office now presents the first brochure on GCOS Switzerland. The brochure is available in English, German and French. Copies can be obtained free of charge at the Swiss GCOS Office.
Swiss GCOS Reports
27.10.2008: Successful GCOS Switzerland Event
More than 100 persons from the science, administration and politics as well as the media attended the GCOS Information Day in Zurich on October 21st, 2008. In his presentation, Professor Thomas Stocker stressed that "long measurement series of highest quality are the basis for determining trends and, hence, constitute an important basis for policy makers".
06.06.2008: Series of climate measurements sustainably ensured
The most valuable series of climate measurements will be sustainably ensured. Upon request of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, the Swiss Federal Council approved a financial contribution which will ensure the continuation of the most important series of climate measurements, therewith preserving Switzerland's significant position in global climate observation.
28.03.2008: Report "National Climate Observing System" is newly in English available
The GCOS report gives a comprehensive overview of the different essential climate variables and their measurement in Switzerland. Newly the report is also available in English.
Swiss GCOS Reports
26.11.2007: For the first time, a complete inventory of climate measurement series in Switzerland
For the first time, a national inventory of climate measurement series of particular significance has been compiled by the Swiss GCOS Office at MeteoSwiss. The variety, continuity and quality of these data series are outstanding. They range from measurements of temperature through observations of tree flowering to studies of Alpine permafrost.
Swiss GCOS Reports