Each year, I am teaching around 60-80 students some meteorological basics. The courses include a wrap-up of first year physics, and builds upon this knowledge to introduce some applied notions of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics (see course description here).

The main aim of the course is to enable students to understand, categorize and maybe even generate own weather forecasts, with a special focus on the most important hazardous weather phenomena both for commerical and general aviation.

Thanks to the very fruitful collaboration with MeteoSwiss, interested students have always been able to join a guided tour through the MeteoSwiss Headquarters at the airport of Zurich.

The tour mostly begins with a short welcome note on the observation deck, before boarding a passenger bus leading to the threashold of runway 16. There, the tour guide shows and explains the different meteorological instruments partly used for the meteorological report (METAR). The group is then lead to the meteorological observation platform. There, the duty of an “aeronautical meteorological observer” (see here for a definition) is introduced to the students.

Group of students walking up the stairs to the weather observation tower

Finally, the forecasting front office is shown, were one of the two on-duty forecasters answer the – mostly numerous – questions of the students.

Once again, it was a very interesting guided tour, and all our students were extremely happy to have been able to take part.

Many thanks to Peter Meyer, Martin Dätwyler, Thomas Jordi, Andreas Asch and the remaining team of MeteoSwiss to make this yearly tour possible!