Abstract 115

Abstract ID: 115

Towards an early warning system for droughts in Switzerland

Lead Author: Christoph Spirig
Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Switzerland

Keywords: drought, subseasonal forecasts, Switzerland

Abstract: Switzerland has experienced an unprecedented increase in summer drought over the past 20 years, and climate scenarios predict that this trend will continue. Given the large impacts of drought on crucial national infrastructure such as water supply, agriculture, energy production or natural ecosystems, the federal government of Switzerland has decided to establish a national, end-to-end drought monitoring and warning platform. To that end a major collaboration between three federal agencies has been initiated to establish a drought warning system, consisting of an observational network, as well as monitoring, prediction and warning capabilities. In that value chain, MeteoSwiss has the responsibility to implement the meteorological foundations, in which subseasonal forecasts of meteorological drought will play a key role to predict meteorological drought and to feed hydrological models.
We will present the status of subseasonal forecasts currently used for a prototype drought prediction and then proceed with discussing the next steps towards an operational system. We outline what we see as the key challenges and how we plan to address them. One of them is the need to further improve our knowledge of the predictability of precipitation deficits, evapotranspiration or soil moisture on subseasonal scales. Another one is to develop long-term drought predictions that can truly support the decisions of the users, requiring a close continuous engagement with the relevant stakeholders.

Adel Imamovic (Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss)
Lionel Moret (Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss)
Mark A. Liniger (Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss)