Basel - Location and climate

General information about the city

Basel is situated in the north west of Switzerland, on the borders to Germany and France, at the distinctive “knee” of the Rhine river, which turns 90 degrees to the north here to follow the French-German border after first flowing east to west from Lake Constance along the German-Swiss border. The city centre is located at an elevation of 261m. Basel is Switzerland’s third most populous city with about 180,000 inhabitants. It is also home to meteoblue which is proud to have become an example of Basel’s renowned tradition of inventiveness and innovation. If you look closely on the live data map below, you’ll find the weather station on the rooftop of meteoblue, not far from Mittlere Rheinbrücke, the oldest of the eight bridges across the Rhine river in Basel.

Live data

Measurement data are raw values. Temperature and precipitation data may be influenced by buildings and other infrastructure. Data on this website are © meteoblue.com.

Climate of the city

The climate in Basel is characterized by mild air temperatures and sunny weather with an annually average temperature of 11.5˚C. Warm and humid air masses from the Mediterranean reach Basel via the Burgundian Gate between the Vosges and Jura mountains. Shielded by mountain ranges to the south and southwest, there is less rainfall in Basel compared with the surrounding area. Annual precipitation is in the order of 840mm, with about half the amount falling between May and August as convective precipitation. The winter months December to February are usually characterized by mild temperatures compared to other parts of Switzerland. The nighttime air temperatures fall only slightly below freezing point with an average of -1.5˚C. During the winter months, Basel experiences an average of four snow days. With temperatures increasing towards summer, the amount of convective precipitation and frequency of thunderstorms increases. In Basel, on average 52 summer days (Tmax > 25 °C) are recorded. The daytime temperature in the summer months June to August can reach above 35°C. During heat waves tropical nights (Tmin at night > 20 °C) can occur in Basel. The daily air temperature amplitude is especially large in autumn, with warm temperatures during noon and cold temperatures at night. In autumn and winter, fog typically lasts longer in the Rhine valley than in Basel. Fog in Basel is frequently cleared in the early morning hours by the “Möhlin-Jet”, a local south-easterly wind system where air gets funneled by the Rhine valley topography east of Basel.

Topography of the city and land surfaces

The city of Basel is located in the Rhine valley and is surrounded by the mountain ranges of the French Vosges to the northwest, the German Black Forest to the northeast, and the Jura mountains to the south. The lowest altitudes are found along the Rhine river while districts in the south, like for example “Bruderholz”, are elevated. The zoo of Basel forms one of the largest green area in the city center. With a population of about 180,000 and an area of 37sqkm, Basel is quite densely populated. However, many districts have small green areas and gardens. Public parks, such as Kannenfeldpark in the west of the city and Schwarzpark in the east form the largest green areas within the city boundaries. Districts in the southern and eastern parts of Basel are less densely populated as compared to the rest of the city. The city has few high buildings; some high housing estates can be found in the east as well as in industrial areas on the periphery. The main railway station of Basel with its extensive array of tracks is located in the city center. A second large train station is located in the north of the city. In addition to the railways for public transport, some industrial tracks cross the southeast of the city. The international airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is located northwest of Basel on French territory. Cold air flows caused by mountain slopes near St. Jakob in the east and the zoo of Basel in the south influence the climate conditions of the city.

Local climate zone

What is a Local Climate Zone (LCZ)?

LCZ are a means to classify surface types that affect the local climate differently. 10 LCZ types (“1-10”) describe built-up areas in terms of building types and spatial arrangements, materials, human activities, plants, ground surface properties, etc. 7 more types (“A-G”) describe land cover in terms of plant cover and ground surface properties. The definitions of LCZ were introduced in Stewart, I.D. and Oke, T.R. 2012. Local Climate Zones for urban temperature studies. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93: 1879-1900.

Local climate zone description

1. Compact high-rise:

LCZ 1 is characterized by a dense mix of tall buildings (more than 10 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and glass construction materials. There is little or no vegetation and the surfaces are mostly paved.

2. Compact midrise:

LCZ 2 is characterized by a dense mix of midrise buildings (3-9 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and glass construction materials. There is little or no vegetation and the surfaces are mostly paved.

3. Compact low-rise:

LCZ 3 is characterized by a dense mix of low-rise buildings (1-3 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and glass construction materials. There is little or no vegetation and the surfaces are mostly paved.

4. Open high-rise:

LCZ 4 is characterized by an open arrangement of tall buildings (more than 10 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and glass construction materials. Low plants and scattered trees create a permeable landcover.

5. Open midrise:

LCZ 5 is characterized by an open arrangement of midrise buildings (3-9 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and glass construction materials. Low plants and scattered trees create a permeable landcover.

6. Open low-rise:

LCZ 6 is characterized by an open arrangement of low-rise buildings (1-3 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and glass construction materials. Low plants and scattered trees create a permeable landcover.

7. Lightweight low-rise:

LCZ 7 is characterized by a dense mix of single-story buildings with lightweight construction materials like wood, thatch and corrugated metal. There is little or no vegetation and the surface is mostly hard-packed.

8. Large low-rise:

LCZ 8 is characterized by an open arrangement of large low-rise buildings (1-3 floors) with concrete, steel, stone and metal construction materials. There is little or no vegetation and the surface is mostly paved.

9. Sparsely built:

LCZ 9 is characterized by a sparse arrangement of small or medium-sized buildings in a natural setting. Low plants and scattered trees create a permeable landcover.

10. Heavy industry:

LCZ 10 is characterized by low-rise and midrise industrial structures like towers, tanks and stacks with metal, steel and concrete construction materials. There is little or no vegetation and the surface is mostly paved or hard-packed.

A. Dense trees:

LCZ A is characterized by deciduous and/or evergreen tree. It is a heavily wooded landscape and the landcover is mostly permeable. The zone functions as natural forest, tree cultivation or urban park.

B. Scattered trees:

LCZ B is characterized by deciduous and/or evergreen tree. It is a lightly wooded landscape and the landcover is mostly permeable. The zone functions as natural forest, tree cultivation or urban park.

C. Bush, scrub:

LCZ C is characterized by an open arrangement of bushes, shrubs and short, woody trees. the landcover is mostly permeable with bare soil or sand. The zone functions as natural scrubland or agriculture.

D. Low plants:

LCZ D is characterized by a featureless landscape of grass or herbaceous plants or crops. There is little or no trees. The zone functions as natural grassland, agriculture, or urban park.

E. Bare rock or paved:

LCZ E is characterized by a featureless landscape of rock or paved cover. There is little or no vegetation. The zone functions as natural desert (rock) or urban transportation.

F. Bare soil or sand:

LCZ F is characterized by a featureless landscape of soil or sand cover. There is often little or no vegetation. The zone functions as natural desert or agriculture.

G. Water

LCZ G is characterized by large, open water bodies such as seas and lakes, or small bodies such as rivers, reservoirs, and lagoons.

Meteorological diagrams

5-day meteogram

Our 5-day meteogram for Basel offers all weather information in 3 simple graphs:

  • مخطط درجة الحرارة مع الصور التوضيحية للطقس. يشار إلى الوقت من شروق الشمس الى غروبها باللون الأصفر الفاتح.
  • الغيوم على ارتفاعات مختلفة: من غيوم قليلة (رمادي فاتح) لملبد بالغيوم (رمادي غامق). تمثل أشرطة زرقاء داكنة هطول الأمطار الساعية والأزرق الفاتح يمثل زخات المطر. النجوم تشير إلى تساقط الثلوج.
  • توقعات سرعة الرياح هي بالأزرق وهبوب هي بالأخضر. وتشير رؤوس الأسهم لجهة الرياح.
meteoblue

Historical weather information

Tropical nights, summer and heat days are good indicators to classify heat and possible heat stress during summer:

  • Summer day (orange): summer days are classified as days with a maximum daily air temperature of more than 25 degrees. Summer days can cause heat stress especially among elderly and sick people.
  • Heat day (red): heat days are classified as days with a maximum daily air temperature of more than 30 degrees. Heat days can cause severe heat stress for most people.
  • Tropical night (blue): tropical nights are classified as nights (from 6 pm to 6 am) where the minimum air temperature does not drop below 20 degrees. Tropical nights can cause severe heat stress due to insufficient recuperation at night.

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