The three clearly defined natural regions of Switzerland are the Alps, the midland, and the Jura. The Alpine chains stretch from the French border south of Lake Geneva diagonally across the southern half of Switzerland, reaching their highest elevations in the glaciated peaks north and south of the troughs of the upper Rhone and Rhine valleys. The hills, plateaus, and valleys between lake Geneva and lake Bodensee constitute the midland: a depression filled by an inland sea during a period from 65 to 2 million years ago. The mountains of the Jura represent the northernmost fold-belt of the Alps. The highest ranges rise more than 1,000 m, immediately north of the lake chain of the Aare River valley. Along the French-Swiss border, and especially in the Jura south of Basel, the mountains take on a plateau like character.
Three factors determine Switzerland’s climate: its mid-latitude location, its intermediate position between oceanic and continental air mass regimes, and its altitudinal spread of more than 4,000 m. The wettest parts of Switzerland are the Jura ranges, the central Alps north of the Rhone-Rhine depression, and the Alps of Valais. In the midland, rainfall averages 1,000 mm per year, and in winter fog often enshrouds the area. Higher, drier, and colder regions enjoy more sun in winter. Above 3,050 m the precipitation falls as snow. In Zurich the average temperature ranges from 0.6°C in January to 18°C in July.
Total population is 7,207,060 (World Factbook, July 1996 est.). Cities with 10,000 or more inhabitants now incorporate 75% of the population. The largest cities: Zurich, Basel, Geneve, Bern, and Lausanne, contain a third of the Swiss population. The great majority of the Swiss population and most of the major cities are located on the midland rivers and the Rhine. Less than 10% of the Swiss population lives in the Alpine region. As a whole, the Jura region is sparsely populated. Neuchatel is the principal city.
Stations from the IDMP Network measure both daylight and solar radiation.

IDMP Network/Geneva

Lat.: 46°20' N
Long.: 6°01' E
Height above sea level: 425 m

Dr Pierre Ineichen
Universite de Geneve
19 Avenue de la Jonction
1205 Geneve, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 705 72 84
Fax: +41 22 705 72 00

Clock Time: GMT+1. Summer time shift (GMT+2), from last Sunday in March,
to Saturday before last Sunday in October.

  1. "ASE 8911.1995 Eclairage intérieur par lumière du jour", ("Daylighting").

  2. "ASE 8907 et ASE 8909 Eclairage public", ("Street Lighting").

  3. "ASE 8905.1974 Eclairage naturel et artificiel des bâtiments scolaires", ("Daylighting and Electric lighting for schools").
  1. "Programme d'action RAVEL". This is a Programme dedicated to the Rational Use of Electricity. Office Fédéral des Questions Conjoncturelles - 3003 Berne.

  2. "Programme d'action Energie 2000". Office Fédéral de l'Energie - 3003 Berne.

  3. "METEONORM'95, Le manuel du concepteur solaire, Logiciel de calcul des paramètres météo pour la Suisse". InfoEnergie - Case postale - 5201 Brugg AG.
Association Suisse de l'Eclairage (ASE)
(Lighting Engineers Association)
Postgasse 17, 3011 Berne
Tel: +41 31 312 22 51
Fax: +41 31 312 12 50
CIE on the Internet.

Association Suisse des Electriciens (ASE)
Administration des imprimés
Case Postale
8034 Zurich

(Lighting Research Laboratory)
CP 12, 1015 Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 693 45 45
Fax: +41 21 693 27 22


More information is available at Amadeus or the Electric Library

Back to Country Info Main Page