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Manual observation network

The information on current weather events is supplemented by visual human observations. The atmospheric conditions around the observation site are described in detail.


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Visual observations provide a detailed description of the atmospheric conditions around the observation site. Meteorological observers make visual observations and take readings from measurement instruments between two and eight times per day every day of the year. This information is then transmitted to MeteoSwiss online. The reports are encrypted using internationally valid code and are made available worldwide.

Visual observations are made at around 20 locations in Switzerland. The following aspects are observed:

  • Meteorological visibility
  • Current weather: e.g. moderate rain showers, snowfall, fog with formation of hoarfrost
  • Past weather: the main weather phenomena during the past 3, 6 or 12 hours, e.g. thunderstorms, drizzle, drifting snow
  • Ground conditions: e.g. powder snow covering the entire ground surface; frozen; damp
  • Clouds: extent of total cloud cover, type and shape of visible clouds, the altitude of the cloud base
  • Mesurement of fresh and total snow depth