Climate Change Scenarios CH2018 - Swiss Plateau

On the Swiss Plateau, we can expect temperatures to rise by 2–3°C compared to today’s levels by the middle of this century if global greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced. Winter precipitation is also expected to increase, whereas the summer months will become drier.


Since measurements began in 1864, temperatures on the Swiss Plateau have risen significantly. How severely and quickly warming takes place depends on how the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere change. If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated at the current rate (RCP8.5), then the annual average temperature on the Swiss Plateau can be expected to rise by a further 2–3°C above that of the normal period of 1981–2010 by the middle of this century. If a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (RCP2.6) can be achieved globally, however, then the additional warming can probably be restricted to 0.6–1.8°C.


Summer precipitation on the Swiss Plateau changed little in the 20th century, whereas precipitation in the winter months increased. Without effective climate change mitigation, precipitation in the colder half of the year is likely to increase even further: By the middle of this century, climate models indicate an increase of between 5% and 31% in the winter months (December to February). In summer, however, less rain is expected to fall; the simulated changes range from between +3% and -26%. Climate change mitigation would moderate these changes significantly. Despite reductions in total precipitation, heavy rainfall events are likely to increase in number and intensity, both in summer and in the other seasons. In general, the uncertainty of changes in precipitation levels is greater than for changes in temperature.

What do RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 mean? You can find an explanation of the emission scenarios here.

Additional Information

What do the changes mean for my place of residence?

Here you will find comprehensive information on the future climate at a number of monitoring stations on the Swiss Plateau. How many summer days can be expected, for example, in Geneva by the middle of this century? How will the seasonal cycle in terms of temperatures change in Zurich?

How does the climate on the Swiss Plateau change at different elevations?

Below, you will find detailed information on the future climate at different elevations. How many frost days can be expected at altitudes above 600 m a.s.l. by the end of the century? How many tropical nights will there be below 400 m a.s.l.?

Last modification 22.12.2021

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