How is the climate system monitored in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, the entire climate system is measured on the basis of 34 different parameters. A total of 29 national partner organisations are involved in the collection of high-quality observation data.

Monitoring of the climate system has a long tradition in Switzerland. One of the longest-standing observation series stretches back to the early 19th century, as scientists in Geneva began to systematically note down the time of new leaf formation on a horse chestnut tree every year.

Today in Switzerland there are 34 parameters that are systematically monitored so as to characterise the country’s climate. These observations are all part of the Swiss Climate Monitoring System, in which not only the atmosphere is monitored, but all elements of the climate system. Parameters are also measured in Switzerland that denote the influence of human activity on the climate system, such as water use.

Behind Switzerland’s climate monitoring system are the efforts of 29 national partner organisations, including federal offices, research institutes and universities, all of whom are committed to ensuring that high-quality data are collected in accordance with international standards and made available to all types of user. In this way, the partners are making an important contribution to the Global Climate Observing System, or GCOS, for short.

The coordination of Swiss climate observations is the responsibility of the Swiss GAW/GCOS Office, which resides within MeteoSwiss.

The observation data that are collected as part of the GCOS Switzerland programme form the basis for researching past climate change. They also help to recognise long-term changes and, with the help of models, to generate estimates of how the climate of the future will look – both for Switzerland, and worldwide.


Last modification 13.10.2023

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