Snow Climatology and Monitoring

The Snow Climatology and Monitoring (SCM) research group is dedicated to advancing our understanding of the role of snow in the climate system. The group's primary focus is on snow-climatology-related research, data acquisition, and data curation.

As a critical component of the climate system, the snowpack is extremely sensitive to climate change and has significant feedback on the atmosphere. Changes in climate lead to changes in the extent, depth, density, and optical and thermal properties of the snow cover, and hence of the Earth’s surface and the boundary layer between the Earth and the Atmosphere. These changes have far-reaching consequences, including impacts on water resources, glaciers, extreme events, natural hazards, ecosystems, biodiversity, forests, and landscapes, as well as winter sports and the tourism industry, in Switzerland and globally.

The Snow Climatology and Monitoring research group has established an outstanding reputation for excellence in snow climatology, in-situ snow monitoring, and data curation. The group's research has contributed significantly to our understanding of snow in the climate system through the development of snow-climatological data products (anomaly maps), trend analyses (snow day index), numerical models (see snow-cover modelling), including data management and visualization tools. The SCM group has been engaged in those activities for decades and is involved in the operation of SLF's long-term snow monitoring sites at Weissfluhjoch and Laret, including testing new measurement devices.

The group's strong involvement in the international snow monitoring research community has recently been recognized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which designated SLF as the WMO-INFCOM Measurement Lead Centre - Snow Monitoring Competence Centre Davos (SMCC). SCM oversees and coordinates worldwide snow monitoring activities.