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Weather. Sunshine, lightning and cloudbursts

Date of publication 12 January 2017
Topics Weather
Type Press release

Despite the efforts of cutting-edge analysis and measurement technology, the weather still does what it likes. Why that should be the case and how meteorology has developed over the years is all explained in the exhibition “The Weather. Sunshine, Lightning and Cloudbursts” at the National Museum Zurich, which has been created in partnership with the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.

Not only a popular topic for small talk, weather has also evolved into a major science in its own right over the last few hundred years. From simply observing it in the 16th century through to professional analysis drawing on thousands of datasets, weather has come a long way. Nowadays, surface monitoring stations, weather radars and satellites log meteorological data around the clock and enable increasingly precise forecasts to be made. Nevertheless, there are still some weather phenomena that cannot be predicted with 100% reliability.

This is also probably one of the reasons many people still swear by peasant lore, rhyming snippets of popular wisdom that have been passed down through the generations and are surprisingly accurate. They are just as much a part of the exhibition as the climate cycle known as El Niño, which turns the usual climate in Southeast Asia and Australia and on the west coast of South America on its head every few years.

As well as explaining how meteorology came to become a standalone science, “The Weather. Sunshine, Lightning and Cloudbursts” also explores some of the phenomena that make up the weather and climate, addresses popular old sayings and takes visitors into a small-scale meteorological lab, where they can create their own short-term forecasts or brew their very own storm in a “cloud box”. MeteoSwiss experts will also be on hand every Sunday to provide information on weather phenomena, data gathering and forecasting techniques and to answer questions on anything to do with sunshine, lightning or cloudbursts.


Andrej Abplanalp
Head of Communication Swiss National Museum

Phone +41 (0)58 466 66 63

Nina Aemisegger
Deputy Head of Communications Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss
Phone +41 (0)58 460 94 10
Mobile +41 (0)79 875 32 31

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