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ICON Partnership and COSMO

MeteoSwiss works closely with international partners to continuously improve the weather forecast model.


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ICON partnership

The development and continuous improvement of the ICON model is the result of a close international collaboration known as the ICON partnership. This collaboration includes leading weather and climate institutions such as the German Weather Service (DWD) and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), which originally developed the model. Other key partners include the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and the Centre for Climate Systems Modelling (C2SM) in Switzerland, which includes MeteoSwiss among its members. The ICON partners are supported by developer and research communities in the weather and climate fields, as the ICON model is used for both weather forecasting and climate modelling in research and applications.

C2SM, jointly operated by ETH Zurich, Eawag, Empa, MeteoSwiss and WSL, plays a central role in the ICON partnership. This collaboration makes it possible to leverage synergies and continuously improve the model to meet the specific needs of different regions and application areas. By sharing resources and expertise, ICON is refined on an ongoing basis to deliver more precise weather and climate forecasts. The open structure of the ICON partnership also fosters the exchange of knowledge and innovation, benefiting both research and operational uses of the model. The Source code of the ICON model is freely available via an open source licence.

COSMO Consortium

MeteoSwiss is actively involved in both the ICON partnership and the COSMO consortium. The Consortium for Small-scale Modeling (COSMO) is an international collaboration dedicated to advancing and improving non-hydrostatic regional weather models. Its members include national meteorological services and research institutions from various countries, who work together to develop and optimise models that enable precise regional weather forecasting.

The ICON model has been operational at MeteoSwiss since 2024. The close collaboration within the COSMO consortium aims to address the operational needs of national meteorological services for regional weather forecasting, advancing the development of the ICON model. MeteoSwiss contributes its expertise and resources to tailor the models to Switzerland’s specific meteorological and geographical challenges. By collaborating in the COSMO consortium, participating countries benefit from actively sharing data, technologies and scientific insights. This helps to continuously improve the accuracy and reliability of regional weather forecasts. The consortium also promotes education and knowledge transfer among partner institutions, strengthening meteorological research and practice across member countries.