MeteoSchweiz set up the weather station as part of the SwissMetNet Project. SwissMetNet is a modern meteorological measurement network with 134 automatic ground stations which will meet future requirements for weather forecasting and climatic observation. The SwissMetNet will be completed in 2013.
The measurement stations of the SwissMetNet are spread across the whole of Switzerland and automatically transmit a range of meteorological parameters to the MeteoSchweiz central database every ten minutes. Besides air pressure, temperature and humidity at 2 m, total precipitation, global radiation, sunshine hours, wind direction and wind speed are also measured.
In parallel to the SwissMetNet project, MeteoSchweiz is also carrying out an additional, very important project called CN-MET (Centrales Nucléaires et Météorologie), for which a wind profiler was also set up at Grenchen.
The wind profiler is an active device and functions as a complex transmit/receive radar station, permitting measurement of wind speeds in the atmosphere, up to 8 km above the ground. For this, pulsed signals are sent up into the lower atmosphere. These signals are scattered back differently in the atmosphere due to variations in turbulence. These signals are then analysed to determine the wind speeds.
The wind profile provides important information about the vertical wind structure and, for this reason, is often installed at international airports. These measured wind profiles (every 10 minutes) above the runway provide added value for Grenchen Airport, which is situated at the foot of the Jura Mountains and is faced with rapidly changing wind conditions.