April 2008

Swiss GCOS Office publishes first complete inventory of Swiss climate
measurement series

For the first time, a national inventory of climate measurement series of particular significance has been compiled by the Swiss GCOS Office at the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.


Switzerland has a long tradition in climate observation: temperature and precipitation series of more than 150 years, the world’s longest total ozone series, glacier measurements since the end of the 19th century, bud burst observations in Geneva from 1808 onwards, and the 100-year anniversary of the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos are only a few of the impressive milestones of Switzerland’s contribution to global and regional climate monitoring.

With the report “National Climate Observing System (GCOS Switzerland)”, Switzerland’s coordination office for the Global Climate Observing System (Swiss GCOS Office) has compiled the first-ever inventory of the country’s long-term climatological data series and international data centres, including an assessment of their future prospects. The inventory was compiled in cooperation with ProClim (the Forum for Climate and Global Change of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT)) and the responsible federal offices, research institutes and universities, assisted by a steering committee consisting of scientists and policy-makers.

The report gives a comprehensive overview about the most valuable long-term data series of essential climate variables in the atmospheric and terrestrial domain of GCOS. The compilation identifies for each climate variable to what extent the legal basis, responsibility and financial resources for their continuation exist.

Systematic observation programmes established by Swiss institutions make a significant contribution to the Global Climate Observing System. The most important systematic observations concern surface and upper-air meteorology, atmospheric composition (e.g. aerosols, pollen), hydrology (e.g. isotopes, lake ice), the cryosphere (e.g. snow, glaciers and permafrost) and climate-related biosphere variables (land use, forest ecosystem, forest fires, phenology). Regarding surface-based and upper-air measurements, Switzerland contributes to the GCOS Surface Network (GSN) and the GCOS Upper Air Network (GUAN). Atmospheric composition measurements are organized within the Swiss contribution to the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) programme.In addition to the long-term climate measurement series, Switzerland hosts two of the world’s oldest and most important calibration and data centres: the World Radiation Centre in Davos (PMOD/WRC) is responsible for ensuring that atmospheric radiation is measured consistently worldwide, and the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich (WGMS) has coordinated and collected international observations of glaciers since 1894.

Switzerland’s standardized climate series provide an important basis for studies by international climate experts, including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the recently published IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Swiss data series of precipitation, radiation, snow cover, glaciers, permafrost and phenology were taken into account. The implementation of international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer also benefit from the precise measurements carried out in Switzerland.

The report is available in print or electronic version (PDF format) in English, French and German through the Swiss GCOS Office, www.gcos.ch.

In English:
Seiz, G., Foppa, N., 2007. National Climate Observing System (GCOS Switzerland). Publication of MeteoSwiss and ProClim, 92 pp. >> pdf

In French:
Seiz, G., Foppa, N., 2007. Système National d'Observation du Climat (GCOS Suisse). Publication de MétéoSuisse et de ProClim, 92 pp. >> pdf

Contact/further information:
Swiss GCOS Office
Gabriela Seiz, Nando Foppa
Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA)
Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss
Krähbühlstrasse 58
P.O. Box 514
CH-8044 Zürich




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