Dark and damp: Switzerland records the fewest hours of sunshine in 8 years

Dark and damp: Switzerland records the fewest hours of sunshine in 8 years

With continuous rain, clouds and cool temperatures persisting across Switzerland in recent weeks, many residents may be asking whether the summer will ever arrive. Now, new data from SRF Meteo has found that in the first six months of 2024, the alpine nation recorded the fewest hours of sunshine seen for eight years.

Rates of sunshine in Switzerland fall to eight-year low

According to the data, north of the Swiss mountains, the sun has shone clearly for an average of 200 fewer hours than usual between January and July 2024, a 20 percent drop compared to the 10-year average. In fact, the last time northern Switzerland saw as little sun as today was in 2016 and 2013.

The lack of sunshine was felt more significantly in the south and the Alps themselves. The last time Lugano recorded as little sunshine as 2024 was way back in 1986, and in the Graubünden capital Chur, the rate of sunshine fell to levels unseen since 1983.

Heavy rainfall leads to various fatal incidents

A similar story can also be found when it comes to rain, with the weather in Switzerland in the first half of 2024 being too wet in almost all parts of the country. This was most severe in eastern and southern cantons, where there has been between 40 and 60 percent more rainfall than the 10-year average.

Along with quantity, SRF Meteo noted that rainfall has been a very regular occurrence. In Braunwald for example, 96 out of the 182 days analysed saw rain. In Zurich there were 80 days of rain, 15 more than usual.

The continuous rainfall has also led to a series of extreme and fatal events, beginning in June when landslides and rockfalls swept away part of the San Bernardino Pass and killed several inhabitants. Just a week later, torrential rain in Valais and Ticino left at least four people dead. Thanks to climate change, extreme weather events like these are only set to become more common.

When will the weather improve in Switzerland?

So will people in Swiss cities and cantons be given a helping of summer at all this year? Not soon says SRF Meteo: “According to the current weather models, there is still no strong high-pressure area in sight. If low pressure or flat pressure weather continues new heavy thunderstorms can be expected.”

They added that the large amount of rainfall has created a “self-reinforcing” cycle. The sudden hot temperatures help evaporate the large amount of standing water that has already fallen over Switzerland. “Accordingly, new cumulus clouds form much more quickly, followed by downpours and thunderstorms,” they explained.

Thumb image credit: Buffy1982 /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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