Areas, Atmospheric Conditions, and Pollution



The first official area statistics for all of Switzerland dates back to 1912. Further publications followed 1923/24, 1952, and 1972. There are two estimates for the 19th century, the first dating to 1855 and the other to 1877. The first estimate consists of an extrapolation by the department of the interior based on data from 15 cantons. Two decades later, investigations by the Federal bureau of construction led to the publication of another statistic which, for the first time, contained data for all cantons. During the 1880’s ten cantons performed new surveys. Those changes are included in the tables of the 1892 Statistical Year Book of Switzerland.

For the six sample years, we show total area, pro- ductive and nonproductive areas, and productive areas used agriculturally and alpinoculturally at the Canton level. Water areas were not listed separately in 1855, nor were they in 1979/85. Data on developed areas, which in the area statistics of 1972 were still included in nonproductive area, exists for the sample years 1877/90, 1972, and 1979/85, though the values for 1877/90 should be considered approximations only. An accurate determination of developed areas was not successfully performed until the 1972 survey.

Atmospheric Conditions

The atmospheric series presented in this volume originate from three different sources: First, the work of Maurer, Birrwiler, and Hess, which covers the era of 1830–1900; second, the annals of the Swiss Meteorological Institute founded in 1864; and, third, from the atmospheric data bank “Climhist”, compiled by Christian Pfister and made available to the public a few years ago, from which we took the data for the late 18th and early 19th century.

Since the monthly series published by the Swiss Meteorological Institute since 1864 cover a multi- tude of atmospheric stations and indicators, it was necessary to make a narrower selection. We decided to compute quarterly values for the variables “average temperature” and “total precipitation”. In order to make regional developments visible, we present this data for six different measuring stations, those being Zurich, Basle, Geneva, Berne, Saint Gall, and Luga- no. The respective altitudes of those six stations is listed in the table headers.


In the years 1986 and 1987, the Federal Bureau for Environmental Protection published two sizable brochures containing data on the development of pollutant emission since the 1950s and predicting future trends through the year 2010. Since such predictions do not belong in a historical statistic, our tables only cover the time between 1950 to 1984. We are not in a position to competently discuss those figures, but wish to refer to pages six to twelve of the brochure “Environmental Pollution in Switzerland 1950 to 2010”, that, in key words, gives information about origins, sources, characteristics, and impact of the pollutants covered in the report, and also covers pollutant consistency.

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The current chapter contains 27 table(s) between 1782 and 1996