Freezing Line Breaks All-Time Altitude Record in Switzerland

Julia Schneemann | | WeatherWeather
Monte Rosa
Switzerland’s highest peak, the Dufour Peak, in the Swiss state of Valais, picture:  Zermatt Tourism Facebook Page

Concerning news from Switzerland was reported last week when the MeteoSwiss weather balloon recorded a new all-time high for the freezing line at 5,184m (17,008 ft).  MeteoSwiss, the federal office of meteorology and climatology of Switzerland, carries out a twice-daily measurement in their Payerne office via a radio-sounding balloon to measure important meteorological values in the atmosphere. This measurement puts the freezing line higher than the highest Swiss peak and breaks the previous record of 5,117m (16,788 ft) from 1995.

List of Freezing Line Records
Freezing Line: MeteoSwiss’ record measurements from the weather balloon over Payerne since 1954, picture:  MeteoSwiss Twitter

Decades or even century-long weather-records are being broken this July on every continent and here at SnowBrains we naturally wonder: What does this mean for our winters? Glaciers in Europe are suffering. Despite a mild summer in 2021, glacier volume decreased by almost 1% or 400 million metric tons last year in Switzerland. It begs the question of how much they will decrease in the face of a record summer.

Aletsch Glacier 2021 vs 2022
Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland, July 2022 vs 2021 side by side, illustrating the decrease, especially in the higher lying areas, source: MeteoSwiss


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