SwissMetNet, the automatic monitoring network of MeteoSwiss, comprises about 160 automatic monitoring stations. These stations deliver a multitude of current data on the weather and climate in Switzerland every ten minutes. The monitoring network is supplemented by automatic precipitation stations (100 stations). Together, these stations form the basis for the creation of reliable local weather forecasts as well as severe weather and flood warnings.
Automatic monitoring network
Over recent years, MeteoSwiss has modernised and expanded its ground-level monitoring network. SwissMetNet now comprises about 160 automatic monitoring stations. These stations deliver a multitude of current data on the weather and climate in Switzerland every ten minutes. The data is automatically transmitted to the MeteoSwiss central database, where various quality assurance checks are performed. The stations' monitoring programmes vary according to their respective purpose. Standard stations record temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, solar radiation and the volume of precipitation as well as the wind direction and speed on an ongoing basis.
The automatic monitoring network is equipped with high-precision measurement instruments and state-of-the-art communication technology. With Switzerland's complex topography and sometimes harsh weather conditions, developing and operating a monitoring network of this kind represents a particular challenge.
As a meteorological parameter, precipitation exhibits a very high level of spatial variability and thus requires an especially dense monitoring network. MeteoSwiss thus operates 100 stations which automatically measure precipitation. MeteoSwiss also has a network of observers who manually measure daily precipitation. More than 300 locations belong to the manual precipitation network. About 100 of them are replaced by automatic precipitation gauges. Instead of once a day as before, these new stations transmit their data automatically every ten minutes.
Precipitation measurements in Valais
Due to its complex topography, the canton of Valais is working together with MeteoSwiss and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) with the specific objective of improving the information base for precipitation events. For this reason, the canton of Valais has invested heavily in the expansion of the automatic precipitation monitoring network and has commissioned MeteoSwiss to install around 35 precipitation monitoring stations within Valais. The high spatial resolution of the precipitation monitoring network allows for improved flood forecasts.