Special EESS talk on "Research at the triple point - bridging science, technology and user needs in the Swiss weather radar network"


Event details

Date 27.06.2024
Hour 13:1514:15
Speaker Dr. Urs Germann, MeteoSwiss
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Radar technology makes it possible to create a detailed four-dimensional “radiography” of precipitation fronts, thunderstorms, snow showers and hail cells in real time. This results in a wide range of applications in aviation and civil protection, in the hydropower, insurance and construction industry, and in agriculture and outdoor activities. In rainy periods the radar animation in the app of MeteoSwiss is visited 1 to 3 million times a day. The technology is fascinating and the potential is large, but there are also many scientific and technological challenges, especially in an Alpine country like Switzerland where the mountains cause persistent “false” echoes and severe shielding of the radar beam. The radar network generates billions of raw measurements every 5 minutes, which are processed in real-time and form the basis for operational applications and research. Hail is a topic of great current interest. Thanks to a unique configuration of the radars, the installation of 80 automatic hail sensors, the introduction of a crowd sourcing function in the app of MeteoSwiss, hail chasing with a drone and a high frequency of hail on both sides of the Alps, Switzerland has a unique position worldwide for hail research. In this talk we present how the radars and the particular setting trigger research and new applications.

Driven by curiosity, Urs looked for a Master's thesis outside the walls of the university. He had an offer from IBM and one from the head of the Swiss weather radars. He decided in favor of the latter. His Master’s thesis was followed by a doctoral thesis in radar meteorology at ETH, radar research and teaching at McGill University in Montreal, leadership of the radar and satellite division at MeteoSwiss, management of the project for the renewal and extension of the Swiss weather radar network, a long-term research collaboration with EPFL and the joint organisation of an international radar conference in Locarno. Urs is passionate about developing new solutions in environmental remote sensing in collaboration with students, senior scientists, users and engineers.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • EESS - IIE


  • Prof. Tamar Kohn, Laboratory LEV


weather radar precipitation radar technology hail research crowd sourcing