Contents area

Legal mandate

MeteoSwiss provides weather and climate services for the protection and benefit of Switzerland on behalf of the federal government and based on the legal framework.

Footer

Top bar Navigation

Swiss federal authoritiesSwiss federal authorities

The core duties of MeteoSwiss are laid down in the Federal Act on Meteorology and Climatology (MCA; SR 429.1).

These duties include, first and foremost, collecting meteorological and climatological data on a continuous basis for the whole of Switzerland (Art. 1 let. a MCA). This data forms the basis for other centralised activities such as issuing severe weather warnings for the public and the authorities (Art. 1 let. c MCA), supplying climatological information (Art. 1 let. e MCA), providing weather forecasts to the public (Art. 1 let. h MCA) and supporting other authorities in monitoring radioactivity and other air pollutants in the atmosphere (Art. 1 let. f MCA and Art. 10 of the Emergency Protection Ordinance; SR 732.33). In pursuit of its remit, MeteoSwiss carries out applied research and development projects (Art. 1 let. g MCA) and works closely with Swiss research institutions.

In connection with this legal remit, the Federal Council lays down in the Ordinance on Meteorology and Climatology (MetClimO; SR 429.11) a core offering of meteorological and climatological services.

Under Article 10 paragraph 1, which came into force on 1 January 2024, of the Federal Act on the Use of Electronic Means to Carry Out Official Tasks (EMOTA; SR 172.019), the federal administrative units must make publicly available the data they obtain or generate in fulfilling their legal remit and that are stored electronically and structured into collections. They have a three-year implementation period to introduce this open government data (OGD) principle (Art. 19 para. 1 EMOTA).
A complete revision of the Ordinance on Meteorology and Climatology (MetClimO; SR 429.11) is required to legally implement the EMOTA at MeteoSwiss. A consultation in this regard was carried out during 2023. The necessary technical and organisational measures for the implementation of OGD at MeteoSwiss will be tackled within the scope of an internal project. Based on the current schedule, MeteoSwiss's meteorological and climatological data should be available via opendata.swiss from 2025. However, adherence to this schedule depends on the availability of corresponding resources.

MeteoSwiss is a member of the Federal Civil Protection Crisis Management Board (CCMB), which is responsible for the prevention and management of events of national importance that are relevant to civil protection (Ordinance on the Federal Civil Protection Crisis Management Board (CCMBO); SR 520.17). Together with the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), the CCMB will form an emergency response team in the event of a hazard from increased radioactivity (Art. 2 of the Ordinance on Civil Protection (Civil Protection Ordinance); SR 520.12).

Under the Civil Protection Ordinance as well as the Emergency Protection Ordinance (EMPO; SR 732.33), MeteoSwiss provides the responsible authorities with current weather and forecast data, specific forecasts and atmospheric dispersion modelling (Art. 2 para. 4 let. a and Art. 14 of the Civil Protection Ordinance).

As a member of the Steering Committee on Intervention in Natural Hazards (LAINAT), MeteoSwiss runs the natural hazards portal for the public (Art. 3 para. 2 and 5 of the Civil Protection Ordinance) and is responsible for warnings in the event of hazardous weather events (Art. 23 of the Civil Protection Ordinance).

MeteoSwiss is the designated aviation weather service and thus part of Switzerland's monopolistic air traffic control (Art. 1 let. d MCA and Art. 9c of the Ordinance on the Air Navigation Service; SR 748.132.1). More information about this important duty can be found here.

Weather events play a decisive role when it comes to dealing with technological and natural disasters as well as military operations. The aim of the 'Coordinated Organisation Weather' is to provide all interested civilian and military agencies with weather data and information for every situation. MeteoSwiss coordinates this cooperation with the Armed Forces and the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) in accordance with the Ordinance on Coordination of the Weather Service (SR 520.13). This involves:

  • ensuring that weather information is provided to civilian and military command levels in special or extraordinary circumstances;
  • collecting the requisite weather data for producing the various weather service products;
  • securing the sharing and exchange of the existing civil and military weather infrastructure, weather data and associated resources;
  • coordinating specialised training in the military and civilian domains.