Local changes

Local changes in temperature and precipitation on the Swiss Plateau are similar to those projected on a larger scale. However, they do lead to different climate conditions depending on the topographical nature of the locality. In lower-lying areas, by the middle of this century, the temperature average could be as high as it currently is in Ticino.

Map of the Plateau region with indication of the measurement stations.

Due to divergent local conditions, every station on the Swiss Plateau has a different normal temperature range; however, the projected future changes vary only slightly across the Swiss Plateau as a whole. For example, for Zurich/Fluntern, by the middle of this century, the average winter temperature will increase from 1.0°C today to a likely 3.0–4.2°C if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated (RCP8.5). In this scenario, the average summer temperature will be between 19.8°C and 21.5°C (compared to 17.7°C today). Such warming would result in temperatures that are normal for Locarno today.

We see a similar picture in the case of summer days – days in which the maximum temperature reaches at least 25°C. In Geneva, there are currently around 60 summer days per year; this is three times as many as in St Gallen, which is 350 m higher. Without climate change mitigation, St Gallen will reach current Geneva levels of summer days by the middle of this century. In Geneva, meanwhile, we can expect the number of summer days to double in comparison to the normal period of 1981–2010. The warmer summers will entail stress for for people, animals, and the environmen in the form of an increased number of tropical nights (nights during which the temperature does not fall below 20°C).

With regard to changes in precipitation, the models show only small differences between the various stations. In Zurich/Fluntern, the current average summer precipitation is 123 mm per month. Summer precipitation in the RCP8.5 scenario is projected to be between 96 mm and 138 mm per month by the middle of the century, thus ranging from a slight increase to a significant decrease. In the same scenario, winter precipitation is projected to increase from 70 mm to between 74 mm and 97 mm per month.

Currently, in the eastern part of the Swiss Plateau, more rain falls in the summer than in the winter. Locations such as St Gallen can therefore expect precipitation levels to be more equalised across the seasons in the future as a result of climate Change.

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

What does "the middle of the century" mean? You can find an explanation of the CH2018 time periods here.

Tables

In the following tables, the seasonal absolute values for temperature, precipitation, and certain climate indicators for today (standard period of 1981–2010) and for the two emission scenarios (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) around the middle of the century (2060) are shown for a selection of monitoring stations on the Swiss Plateau.

Temperature

 

Temperature in winter (°C)

Temperature in summer (°C)

Stations

m a.s.l.

Situation today

Situation around 2060

Situation today

Situation around 2060

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

Bern/Zollikofen

553

0.5

1.3 to 2.7

2.4 to 3.6

17.6

18.3 to 19.4

19.6 to 21.2

Buchs/Aarau

387

1.3

2.0 to 3.3

3.3 to 4.2

18.1

18.8 to 19.8

20.0 to 21.6

Geneva/Cointrin

411

2.3

3.0 to 4.2

4.2 to 5.2

19.3

20.0 to 21.2

21.4 to 23.0

Payerne

490

0.9

1.7 to 3.1

2.9 to 4.2

17.9

18.6 to 19.7

19.9 to 21.4

St Gallen

776

0.3

0.8 to 2.5

2.4 to 3.6

16.3

17.3 to 18.5

18.6 to 20.5

Zurich/Fluntern

556

1.0

1.7 to 3.1

3.0 to 4.2

17.7

18.5 to 19.6

19.8 to 21.5

The ‘situation today’ represents the actual measured seasonal average temperature over the normal period of 1981 to 2010. The ‘situation around 2060’ gives the relevant projections for the period from 2045 to 2074.
Legend

At the Zurich/Fluntern monitoring station, for example, by the middle of this century (2060), the average winter temperature will increase from 1.0°C today to a likely 3.0–4.2°C if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated (RCP8.5). In this scenario, an average summer temperature of between 19.8°C and 21.5°C is possible (compared to 17.7°C today). With consistent climate change mitigation (RCP2.6), the increase in winter temperatures in Zurich/Fluntern can be moderated, with average temperatures of 1.7–3.1 °C by 2060 . In summer, temperatures will only rise to around 18.5–19.6°C.

Precipitation

 

Precipitation in winter (mm/month)

Precipitation in summer (mm/month)

Stations

m a.s.l.

Situation today

Situation around 2060

Situation today

Situation around 2060

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

Bern/Zollikofen

553

63.3

62.5 to 80.6

69.9 to 85.4

108.5

77.1 to 116.4

62.2 to 108.7

Buchs/Aarau

387

70.0

68.2 to 85.0

74.1 to 96.0

105.0

84.2 to 111.2

71.8 to 113.5

Geneva/Cointrin

411

72.2

73.1 to 90.3

79.6 to 97.6

76.8

56.3 to 81.4

46.0 to 72.8

Payerne

490

54.2

53.3 to 69.0

60.2 to 73.0

86.9

61.1 to 90.7

46.2 to 87.6

St Gallen

776

65.5

66.6 to 84.5

72.3 to 90.5

158.1

132.3 to 191.3

129.6 to 177.7

Zurich/Fluntern

556

70.1

68.0 to 85.4

73.9 to 97.5

122.6

103.3 to 135.3

95.9 to 137.9

The ‘situation today’ represents the actual measured seasonal total precipitation averaged over the normal period of 1981 to 2010. The ‘situation around 2060’ gives the relevant projections for the period from 2045 to 2074.
Legend

At the Geneva/Cointrin monitoring station, the current precipitation normal is 76.8 mm per month during the summer months. Without any climate change mitigation (RCP8.5), summer precipitation will decrease during the period around 2060: Between 46.0 mm and 72.8 mm per month can be expected. In the same scenario, winter precipitation is projected to increase from 72.2 mm to 79.6–97.6 mm per month. If comprehensive measures are implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (RCP2.6), the changes in precipitation can be mitigated. In summer, precipitation would then be between 56.3 mm and 81.4 mm per month (compared to 76.8 mm per month today), and in winter, between 73.1 mm and 90.3 mm per month (compared to 72.2 mm per month).

Summer days

Stations

m a.s.l.

Summer days now

Summer days around 2060

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

Bern / Zollikofen 

553  

42

51 to 66 

68 to 90 

Buchs / Aarau 

387  

51 

60 to 73 

77 to 96 

Genf / Cointrin 

411  

60

68 to 82 

87 to 105 

Payerne  

490  

46 

54 to 69 

73 to 92 

St. Gallen 

776  

18 

24 to 35 

35 to 57 

Zürich / Fluntern 

556  

39 

46 to 57 

62 to 82 

‘Summer days now’ represents the actual recorded number of summer days per year, averaged over the normal period of 1981 to 2010. ‘Summer days around 2060’ gives the relevant projections for the period from 2045 to 2074.
Legend

Currently, the monitoring station of Payerne has an average of 46.2 summer days (temperature of at least 25°C) per year. Without climate change mitigation (RCP8.5), there could be up to 91.9 summer days per year in Payerne by the middle of this century (2060). With consistent implementation of climate change mitigation (RCP2.6), the increase would be less pronounced, up to 69.0 summer days.

Tropical nights

Stations

m a.s.l.

Tropical nights now

Tropical nights around 2060

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

Bern/Zollikofen

553

0.0

0.1 to 1.4

1.2 to 6.0

Buchs/Aarau

387

0.0

0.2 to 1.3

1.1 to 7.2

Geneva/Cointrin

411

0.4

1.4 to 4.9

4.8 to 16.7

Payerne

490

0.0

0.0 to 1.1

0.8 to 5.8

St Gallen

776

0.9

1.8 to 6.0

6.3 to 18.2

Zurich/Fluntern

556

0.3

1.3 to 4.3

5.2 to 14.2

‘Tropical nights now’ represents the actual recorded number of tropical nights per year, averaged over the normal period of 1981 to 2010. ‘Tropical nights days around 2060’ gives the relevant projections for the period from 2045 to 2074.
Legend

At the Bern/Zollikofen monitoring station, tropical nights were so rare in the normal period of 1981–2010 as to result in an average of 0.0 per year. Without climate change mitigation (RCP8.5), there could be on average up to 6 tropical nights per year at this station by the middle of this century (2060). With consistent climate change mitigation (RCP2.6), the average number of tropical nights would be limited to up to 1.4 per year.

Frost days

Stations

m a.s.l.

Frost days now

Frost days around 2060

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

Bern / Zollikofen 

553  

94

67 to 85

53 to 69

Buchs / Aarau 

387  

78 

55 to 70

42 to 58

Genf / Cointrin 

411  

75

49 to 64

37 to 54

Payerne  

490  

91 

61 to 80

48 to 65

St. Gallen 

776  

93 

64 to 84

51 to 65

Zürich / Fluntern 

556  

74 

49 to 64

38 to 51

‘Frost days now’ represents the actual recorded number of frost days per year, averaged over the normal period of 1981 to 2010. ‘Frost days around 2060’ gives the relevant projections for the period from 2045 to 2074.
Legend

The monitoring station of Buchs/Aarau has an average of 78 frost days (minimum temperature below 0°C) per year. Without climate change mitigation (RCP8.5), the number of frost days in Buchs/Aarau is projected to decrease to 41.8–58.2 per year by the middle of this century (2060). With consistent climate change mitigation, there will be a smaller reduction in the number of frost days per year, to 54.5–69.5.

Days with fresh snowfall

Stations

m a.s.l.

Days with fresh snowfall now

Days with fresh snowfall around 2060

RCP2.6

RCP8.5

Bern / Zollikofen 

553  

15

11 to 20 

7 to 16 

Buchs / Aarau 

387  

12 

8 to 15 

5 to 12 

Genf / Cointrin 

411  

4 to 10 

2 to 6 

Payerne  

490  

10 

8 to 15 

5 to 12 

St. Gallen 

776  

26 

14 to 28 

10 to 22 

Zürich / Fluntern 

556  

17 

1 to 18 

7 to 15 

‘Days with fresh snowfall now’ represents the actual recorded number of fresh snowfall days per year, averaged over the normal period of 1981 to 2010. ‘Days with fresh snowfall around 2060’ gives the relevant projections for the period from 2045 to 2074.
Legend

St Gallen has one of the highest-altitude monitoring stations on the Swiss Plateau. Here, an average of 25.7 days with fresh snowfall (minimum of 1 mm of precipitation falling in the form of snow) per year were recorded during the normal period of 1981–2010. Without climate change mitigation (RCP8.5), the number of days with fresh snowfall per year will decrease to 9.5–22.3 at the St Gallen monitoring station by the middle of the century (2060). With consistent climate change mitigation (RCP2.6), there will be a smaller reduction in the number of days of fresh snowfall per year, to 13.8–28.2; a slight increase cannot be ruled out.

Charts

The interactive charts for all indicators use Zurich/Fluntern as an example. You can find the figures for other stations in the CH2018 web Atlas.

Zürich / Fluntern

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

Last modification 11.12.2018

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