Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Switzerland's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Switzerland's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

Switzerland, located in the center of Europe, extends from 45°49’ to 47°48’ N and from 5°57’ to 10°30’ E. It covers an area of 41,285 km2, comprising 31.3% forests and grove, 35.9% utilized agricultural area, 7.5% built-up and 25.3% unproductive surface. While the built-up area is relatively small, it increased by 23% between 1985 and 2009, and continues to expand mainly at the expense of utilized agricultural area. Switzerland has a population of approximately 8.6 million (2020) people, of which 78% live in urban areas. Switzerland has a prosperous open economy dominated by the services sector. Switzerland is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change from increasing temperature, resulting in retreating of the glaciers in the Alps at an accelerated pace. If the warming continues, only a fraction of the current glacier cover will be left by the end of the 21st century with large impacts on the seasonal availability of water for drinking water, agriculture, and power generation.