Swiss Hydrological Yearbook Exposes Impact of Climate Change on Water Systems

Posted by: Baris Karapinar
Category: ESG News

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) published the Hydrological Yearbook of Switzerland 2022, offering insights into the nation’s water conditions. The year 2022 saw diverse climatic challenges, beginning with major flood events and followed by a severe low water year. Persistent above-average temperatures and extreme drought led to warm waters, widespread low water levels, and discharges occurring only every ten years or less frequently at many stations.

Switzerland experienced the warmest and sunniest year on record in 2022. With consistently above-average temperatures, the country faced significant precipitation deficits and heatwaves, impacting snow and glaciers dramatically. All ice melt records were broken, leading to catastrophic losses for Swiss glaciers.

Discharge conditions and lake levels in 2022 were well below the long-term average, owing to scarce precipitation across the country. The summer heatwaves led to considerable water warming, setting new temperature highs in several rivers on the Central Plateau.

The Hydrological Yearbook also reveals the impact of stable isotopes on precipitation. The year’s warmth and dryness enriched deuterium and oxygen-18 values, influencing watercourses’ seasonal variations.

Groundwater levels and spring discharges in 2022 were notably low compared to long-term records, with around every third measuring point affected. July and August experienced even lower groundwater levels and spring discharges due to persistently low precipitation. Towards the year’s end, approximately every second measuring point recorded high groundwater temperatures.

The Hydrological Yearbook of Switzerland 2022 offers a comprehensive understanding of water conditions during this eventful year. Its analysis sheds light on the impact of climate change on hydrological systems, serving as a valuable resource for policymakers and researchers to address future water management challenges.

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