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  • Station or site: CryoNet Site
  • Type: Integrated
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: 46.81226, 9.84717
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 1561; 1100-3298
  • Landscape: Mountain
  • Year established: 1931
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Marc Ruesch
  • Science contact: Christoph Marty
  • Data contact: Joel Caduff-Fiddes

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Weissfluhjoch - Davos
Integrated CryoNet Site Information

The region of Davos is one of best monitored alpine areas with records covering the last century in several cases. It stretches from Klosters at 1100 m to the Verstanclahorn at 3298 m asl and covers roughly 300 square kilometres and one can study various micro-climates in the region.

A variety of measurement and research sites are located within the region of the site. There are numerous different measurements relevant to the cryosphere, for example, permafrost temperature, active layer depth, albedo, snow surface temperature, which have been measured over several decades and will continue to be monitored in future.

Long-term measurements of temperature, precipitation and snow are available since the end of the 19th century in Davos as well as the longest continuous series of daily snow measurements at high elevation (Weissfluhjoch Versuchsfeld, 2536 m asl). The site also encompasses the Silvretta glacier at roughly 3000 m asl with the second-longest mass-balance series worldwide (Huss et al., 2015). It is one of the reference glaciers of the World Glacier Monitoring service (WGMS). In addition, the Dischma valley, well known from a large number of studies on snow hydrology, snow-vegetation interactions (Stillberg), and on accumulation and ablation patterns, lies within the site.

Finally, a newly installed weather radar (MeteoSwiss) on top of Weissfluh (46.83495N, 9.79446E, 2832 m asl) and a planned Swiss Alpine Remote Sensing station (46.84506N, 9.87143E, 1513 m asl) will allow for new fields of research, additional monitoring, and cal/val activities.

A list of CryoNet, GCW contributing, and other stations within the site is available under Additional Information Documents below (document 1)
Interactive map available here: http://bit.ly/1qEgXRJ

Stations in This Site

This site is comprised of the following stations:

Broad Research Focus

The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF covers many aspects of snow research, that is, snow physics, snow avalanche formation and dynamics, snow hydrology and climatology, snow-atmosphere and snow-vegetation interactions, drifting and blowing snow, avalanche hazard mitigation (forecasting and permanent structures). Alpine permafrost is also a major topic of research at SLF. Accordingly, research at SLF covers two components of the cryosphere while our partners GLAMOS and MeteoSwiss add the components Glacier and Solid precipitation.

Most of the studies are field based and thus SLF relies on a large number of fixed and mobile research sites. The former are the stations contributing to the CryoNet site while temporary stations often form the latter. In addition, basic snow physics research is conducted within onsite cold laboratories and wind tunnel. It is this broad range of research fields combined with the availability of long- and short term records that make Weissfluhjoch-Davos a unique CryoNet integrated site.

Integrated Approach

The cryosphere (4 components), the hydrosphere, the atmosphere (radiation and pollution), and the biosphere (forest and plant ecology) are all in the primary research focus of this renowned research institute. In addition, collaboration between the partners listed in the partner section below is already well established and ongoing.

The wealth of meteorological stations, long- and short term, allow studies of the effects of elevation gradients and various micro-climates found within the borders of the site.

With the recent installation of the MeteoSwiss operational Weather Radar on top of Weissfluh, new research topics will open up. Furthermore, the planned Swiss Alpine Remote Sensing Site within the borders of the CryoNet site provides a long expected site for cal/val activities in collaboration with space agencies.

Representativeness of the Site

Even though snow depth cannot be easily extrapolated from a point measurement to the surroundings, the long-term record of Weissfluhjoch Versuchsfeld has been shown to represent quite well general annual snow depth trends over the Swiss Alps (Marty and Meister, 2012). Contrary to this representativeness, one of the emerging characteristic of the Weissfluhjoch-Davos integrated site is its heterogeneity in terms of precipitation regimes (micro-climates) and the diversity of research topics addressed within its borders. It also represents a dynamic community located in a mid-Alpine environment that will face substantial challenges due to climate changes, including natural hazards directly affecting the city of Davos.

Site Facilities

Fully-fledged research facility located in Davos (offices, machine & electronic shops, IT-services, etc.). Easy accessibility to some sites (cable cars, roads), mountaineering skills required in winter.

Other Networks to Which This CryoNet Site Belongs

Measurement Methods Used

Other relevant measurement method documents:

SLF-Beobachterhandbuch: Vergleichsstationen

International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground

Data Information


Huss, M., L. Dhulst and A. Bauder. 2015. New long-term mass-balance series for the Swiss Alps, Journal of Glaciology, 61(227), 551–562, doi:10.3189/2015JoG15J015.

Marty, C. and R. Meister. 2012. Long-term snow and weather observations at Weissfluhjoch and its relation to other high-altitude observatories in the Alps. Theor. Appl. Climatol., 110(4), 573-583. doi:10.1007/s00704-012-0584-3

Additional Information Documents


The measurements made at Weissfluhjoch - Davos are listed in the following tables. This is a combination of measurements made at the stations within the site, where the start and end years in the tables are the earliest and latest years of measurement. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
SnowSnow on the ground (WMO code 0957)1937
SnowSnow water equivalent1941
SnowSnowpack profile1938
SnowSnowfall depth1937
SnowWater equivalent of snowfall1941
SnowSurface temperature1996
PermafrostSoil temperature2002
PermafrostActive layer depth2002
PermafrostAnnual surface elevation change2009
PermafrostGround ice volume20022002
PermafrostThermal state2002
PermafrostDistribution (local/regional)1975
PermafrostDownslope velocity2009
PermafrostDuration of thaw2002
PermafrostOnset of seasonal freezing2002
PermafrostDepth of seasonal freezing2002
FrozengroundGround temperature1975
GlacierAnnual mass balance1918
GlacierWinter mass balance1918

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
MetAir temperature1975
MetHumidity/vapour pressure1975
MetWind speed and direction1975
MetAir pressure1975
MetTotal precipitation1975
MetSensible and latent heat2015
RadiationDownwelling shortwave1975
RadiationUpwelling shortwave1975
RadiationDownwelling longwave1996
RadiationUpwelling longwave1996
RadiationSunshine duration1975

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
Snow Ground surface temperature. Lysimeter (5 m^2) start 1992;

snow pillow start 2005; weighing gauge start 20yy; . Snow depth and depth of snowfall are both measured and provided by the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF Davos (see station Weissfluhjoch Versuchsfeld (WFJV)) Water equivalent of snowfall measured only if depth of snowfall > 10 cm

Automatic measurement of snow depth starting 1997. Bi-weekly winter operation. Snow depth measured perpendicular to slope (36°, north-east-facing) Snow depth was measured daily at this location since 1931. Full length record by merging with data from contributing station 5KR. Depth of fresh snow during the last 24 hours in cm (Depth of snowfall HN) Depth of fresh snow during the last 24 hours in cm (Depth of snowfall HN)

Sustainability of measurements not guaranteed.

Seasonally frozen ground measurements at depths of 10, 30, and 50 cm. - Soil temperature 0, 10, 50, 100 cm depth.
Glacier Front variation (from observations) 1895 - 2012, periodic

Above, "Ice thickness" should be "Ice thickness change" and "sporadic" should be "periodic" Front variation (from observations) 1956 - , continuous

Above, "Ice thickness" should be "Ice thickness change" and "sporadic" should be "periodic" Front variation (from observations) 1926 - 2015, continuous

Above, "Ice thickness" should be "Ice thickness change" and "sporadic" should be "periodic"

AtmosphereStarting December 2015, the fifth Radar of MeteoSwiss located on top of Weissfluh (46.83496, 9.79444; 2833 m) will allow for detailed insight in precipitations above the region of this CryoNet Site. Station FLU2 of IMIS network. Total precipitation: daily values from 1974 - 1982, not digitalized. Precipitation is measured on Weissfluhjoch Versuchsfeld (2536 m asl), height adjustable gauge kept 1.5 to 2 m above snow / ground. Daily measurements available for the period 1974-1982. Most of the precipitation falls as solid precipitation.

A Pitot-tube anemometer as well as instruments measuring incoming short and downwelling long-wave radiation are also installed on the wind mast (property of WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF)

The fifth weather radar Weissfluhgipfel of the Swiss Weather Radar Network, located on top of Weissfluh, 2840 m above sea level commenced operation in December 2016

https://oscar.wmo.int/OSCAR/index.html#/search/station/stationReportDetails/2365. - Air temperature 1, 0.5, and 0.1 m

- Dew point

- ozone

- Shortwave normal (perpendicular) to slope. - Air temperature @ 5 cm

- Surface temperature

- Soil temperatures (-5, -10, -20 cm)

- Radioactivity. Unheated rain gauge. Type and intensity of precipitation at observation time

Degree of cloud cover at observation time. Type and intensity of precipitation at observation time

Degree of cloud cover at observation time.

HydrologySnow hydrology


EcologyMountain ecosystems

(http://www.slf.ch/ueber/organisation/oekologie/gebirgsoekosysteme/projekte/baeume_waldgrenze/index_EN) Tree growth study site.

Last updated: 31 May 2017