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Description of manual measuring sites

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Measuring network – manual measuring sites. Click on coloured dots for details.

 

The SLF avalanche warning service operates an extensive network of manual measuring sites. The sites are distributed throughout the Swiss Alps and predominantly situated in intermediate altitude zones, between 1000 and 2000 m. Some of the measurement series already span very long periods and are therefore highly valued; the data are also used for climatological and hydrological purposes.

The measuring sites are permanent in flat and wind-protected terrain. The experts who perform the measurements are trained and paid by the SLF. Data is collected, as far as possible, from the start of November until the end of April, provided that at least half of the measuring site is covered with snow. Depending on events, measurements are collected at some measuring sites in the six-month summer period as well, if feasible. Measuring takes place between 7 and 7.30 am whenever possible.

The following variables are measured at all measuring sites:

Additional variables are measured at numerous sites:

  • Snow properties, such as sinking depth or surface structure
  • Fresh snow water equivalent (kilograms of snow per square metre, or millimetres water column if the snowpack were to be melted).
  • Weather conditions, such as precipitation or cloud cover

Additional data is collected at a number of measuring sites, typically by way of observations and assessments, or bi-weekly snow profiles. Some of the other SLF observers collect and deliver similar data, but not from fixed locations.

  

Further information

Network of automatic measuring stations

The SLF and the canton IMIS network spans more than 170 stations, most above the treeline.

 

Measured Values

A bevy of data retrievable any time, filtered by station altitude.

Observations

Observers trained by the SLF and voluntary observers provide invaluable information for the avalanche bulletin.