Cooperation with expert national and international services

The FOEN’s forecasting activities require close cooperation with expert national and international services.

1. Cooperation with MeteoSwiss and the SLF

The FOEN collaborates closely with MeteoSwiss, from which it obtains forecasting data. It has direct contact with the MeteoSwiss forecasters during floods and critical meteorological situations. The subsequent forecasting and alerting activities are defined on the basis of a joint assessment of the situation.

The FOEN also cooperates with the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos, particularly during the spring snowmelt period. The FOEN is informed by the SLF of the current distribution and expected change in the snow water equivalent in Switzerland. This information is important for the interpretation of the results of the forecast model.

In addition to the operational cooperation, MeteoSwiss, the SLF, the FOEN and other federal agencies operate two Joint Information Platforms on Natural Hazards. The GIN (Natural Hazards Joint Information) platform provides monitoring data, forecasts, alerts and status reports. This platform is only available to federal, cantonal and municipal experts. is a public platform which provides information on current alerts and the appropriate action to be taken.

2. International cooperation

The data and forecasts for the Swiss river basins are important for the forecasting services located downstream.
For this reason, long-term cooperation exists with the hydrological forecasting services along the Rhine. Sharing of monitoring data, forecast data and experiences between these services is institutionalised.

The FOEN works closely with the Baden-Württemberg Flood Forecasting Centre (HVZ) in Karlsruhe (Germany). The two forecasting services exchange monitoring and forecast data on a daily basis. Information is also exchanged regularly about the LARSIM hydrological model.

A flood on the Arve in May 2015 highlighted the need for institutionalised cooperation between France and Switzerland. The FOEN, MeteoSwiss, the canton of Geneva and the agencies involved from the French region of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes agreed to regulate data exchanges and to join forces to develop forecasting models. This was intended to close a gap in the flood alerts for the canton of Geneva.

Example of cooperation: Lake Constance

For Lake Constance, the Baden-Württemberg Flood Forecasting Centre in Karlsruhe (Germany), the Vorarlberg Regional Hydrological Service (Landeswasserbauamt Vorarlberg, Austria) and the FOEN have been operating a joint system for forecasting the water level since 2006.

The forecasting centres of the countries bordering Lake Constance provide information on water levels and a joint status report in flood situations via a joint internet platform.

Further information

Last modification 15.11.2019

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