Precipitations

Rain and snow are the main sources of the water that flows into Swiss lakes, rivers and groundwater. From which region the humidity for our precipitation originates, depends on the general weather situation and on the time of year.

Storm over the Mediterranean Sea
Storm over the Mediterranean Sea (Image: Bruno Schädler)
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Storm over the Mediterranean Sea
Storm over the Mediterranean Sea (Image: Bruno Schädler)

The dominant weather system at a particular point in time determines the origin, form and intensity of precipitation in Switzerland. In the summer, precipitation usually falls as rain and as a result of convective processes (thunderstorms). In winter, precipitation is more widespread (advective) and often falls as snow. Two weather patterns in particular, although rare, can lead to extreme conditions, as shown in Figures below. The pattern shown in the bottom left figure leads to drought; the pattern in the bottom right figure, to flooding. In the mountainous areas of Switzerland, the elevation above sea level plays an important role in the amount and form of precipitation: the higher the elevation, the more the precipitation, and the more frequently it falls as snow.

5b weather type
5b weather type
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5b weather type
5b weather type

Two typical weather patterns that can lead to extremes in Switzerland: The “Omega block” (left) has a strong and stable anticyclone (H) over Europe that leads to droughts like the one in summer 2003. The “5b weather type” (right) is a characteristic low pattern (L) that is known to result in large amounts of rain. This pattern brings very moist and mild air into Switzerland, especially in the spring and autumn, causing the snowline to rise. If the soil is already saturated with water, this can lead to major flooding.

Omega block
Omega block
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Omega block
Omega block

Precipitation

water drop

Woher stammen die Niederschläge, wie und wo werden sie gemessen, und welche Daten gibt es dazu? Das und viel mehr erwartet sie auf den folgenden Seiten im Portal Wasser Schweiz

Jedes Jahr fallen in der Schweiz durchschnittlich rund 1.5 Meter Niederschlag. Das sind 60 Millliarden Kubikmeter Wasser. Ein Drittel davon, nämlich 20 Milliarden Kubikmeter, fallen in Form von Schnee.

Niederschlagsmessung im Hochgebirge. Dort liefern sogenannte "Totalisatoren" die Niederschlagsmenge über ein ganzes Jahr. Die Unsicherheiten sind aber wegen dem Schnee und dem Wind relativ gross.

Ein dichtes Messnetz von Niederschlagsmess-stationen überzieht die Schweiz. Im Hochgebirge werden Niederschlags-totalisatoren, welche nur 1 bis 2 mal abgelesen werden müssen, verwendet. Alle Daten dazu findet man bei MeteoSchweiz