MeteoSwiss, Switzerland’s National Weather Service

MeteoSwiss, Switzerland’s National Weather Service
MeteoSwiss, Switzerland’s National Weather Service  
Discipline: Earth Sciences

Research and development at MeteoSwiss


As Switzerland’s national weather service, MeteoSwiss has the task to reliably define and forecast the weather and climate of the Swiss plateau as well as of the country’s mountainous regions. Over the past few decades, much progress has been achieved in the area of atmospheric observation and meteorological forecasting: difficult-to-access regions can now be monitored by means of remote sensing while weather forecasts can be made over a longer period of time with a greater level of precision. We now not only speak of weather forecasts but also of climate forecasts. However, the goal is far from being reached: complete and errorless observations as well as perfect forecasts remain a vision. Even with increasingly high-performance computers available to calculate more and more complex models, meteorological research constantly faces new challenges.


Furthermore, the alpine region poses additional challenges to meteorological research:
  • It acts as a ’natural barrier’ on which larger-scale weather systems can be deflected, modified or even newly built. Local phenomena, such as the Föhn, are entirely triggered by the presence of the Alps and are correspondingly difficult to predict.
  • In addition, the sensitive and complex nature of this region makes it very susceptible to the effects of short-term extreme weather events and long-term changes, such as climate warming, with outcomes varying greatly from one place to another.
In order to fulfill its tasks and provide up-to-date services for the economy and civil protection, MeteoSwiss must continuously invest in new and further developments.


Outline: Research and Development-Process/ Position of MeteoSwiss within this process

The results from basic research carried out by universities often cannot be directly transferred into the production of meteorological services; rather, they must first be refined and adapted to the requirements of operational activities. Therefore, applied research and the development of new methods of production as well as new products play a central role at MeteoSwiss.

A close cooperation with universities and the research centres of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology is essential to guarantee a smooth transition from university-based research to in-house applied research at MeteoSwiss. With meteorology and climatology not confined to national borders, collaboration with foreign research institutes and weather services as well as participation in international research and development activities take on an even greater importance.

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