Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network


The Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network (PERMOS) documents the state and changes of mountain permafrost in the Swiss Alps in the framework of climate monitoring. We obtain long-term field measurements of basic permafrost variables.

The Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network (PERMOS) obtains, manages and reports on field measurement of ground temperatures, changes in ground ice content and creep velocities of rock glaciers. Results and data are openly available to research, practice and the public.

PERMOS was initiated in the 1990ies and started in the year 2000 with a 6-year pilot phase. It evolved from a loose collection of sites established in the framework of research into an operational network as part of the Swiss cryosphere monitoring programs in the framework of long-term climate observation. Since 2007 the network is officially implemented with a secretariat and secured long-term funding from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss (in the framework of GCOS Switzerland), the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT). Seven academic partner institutions carry the permafrost monitoring network: ETH Zurich (ETHZ), the Universities of Fribourg (UniFR), Lausanne (UniL), Zurich (UZH), and Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and Innsbruck (UIBK), and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF (WSL-SLF).


PERMOS is carried by several research institutions and financially supported by federal partners. The network is managed by the PERMOS Office and supervised by two standing committees.

The data acquisition and site maintenance together with the pre-processing of the data is the main task of the seven partner institutions, which are all active in mountain permafrost research. The PERMOS Office is the executive body that manages and administers the network. It is jointly hosted by the University of Fribourg and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. The PERMOS Office plans and coordinates the monitoring strategy and its implementation by the partner institutions, it is in charge of the data curation and management as well as of the publication of the results.

Two standing committees advise and supervise the network, politically and financially as well as scientifically: The PERMOS Steering Committee (StC) is the steering board of the network and is composed of one representative of each partner institution and funding agencies. The PERMOS Scientific Committee (SciC) regularly evaluates the monitoring setup and discusses the observation results. It ensures the scientific validity at the operational level. The SciC is composed of at least one representative from each partner institution and is open to all persons involved in permafrost monitoring and research in Switzerland.

The steering board of PERMOS includes one representative of each funding partner and partner institution. The PERMOS Office attends the meetings in an advisory capacity.

  • Michelle Stalder (MeteoSwiss)
  • Hugo Raetzo (BAFU)
  • Christian Preiswerk (SCNAT)
  • Jan Beutel (UIBK)
  • Reynald Delaloye (UNIFR)
  • Daniel Farinotti (ETHZ)
  • Christophe Lambiel (UNIL)
  • Marcia Phillips (WSL-SLF)
  • Cristian Scapozza (SUPSI)
  • Andreas Vieli (UZH)
  • Daniel Vonder Muehll (ETHZ, founder PERMOS)

This committee is open to all people involved in permafrost observation in the Swiss Alps. The current members of the PERMOS Scientific Committee (in alphabethical order) are:

Dominik Amschwand (UniFR), Jan Beutel (UIBK), Alessandro Ciccoira (UZH), Reynald Delaloye (UniFR), Chantal Del Siro (SUPSI), Daniel Farinotti (ETHZ / WSL), Isabelle Gaertner-Roer (UZH), Andreas Hasler (SensAlpin GmbH), Christian Hauck (UniFR), Christin Hilbich (UniFR), Martin Hoelzle (UniFR), Robert Kenner (WSL-SLF), Mario Kummert (UniBE), Christophe Lambiel (UniL), Tamara Mathys (UniFR), Coline Mollaret (UniFR), Jeannette Noetzli (WSL-SLF), Cécile Pellet (UniFR), Marcia Phillips (WSL-SLF), Cristian Scapozza (SUPSI), Andreas Vieli (UZH), Sebastian Vivero (UniFR), Daniel Vonder Muehll (ETHZ), Samuel Weber (WSL-SLF), Julie Wee (UniFR), Jonas Wicky (UniFR)

We thank our former staff members in the PERMOS Office for their work and support:

  • Christin Hilbich, research associate, geophysics specialist, UNIFR, 2016–2018
  • Benno Staub, science officer, UNIFR, 2016–2017
  • Jonas Wicky, research associate, UFR, 2016–2017
  • Ingo Völksch, research associate, data base manager, UZH 2012–2015
  • Lorenz Böckli, research associate, UZH 2014
  • Rachel Lüthi, research assistant, UZH 2014
  • Daniel Vonder Mühll, founder and programme leader, ETHZ, 2000–2010
  • Isabelle Gaertner-Roer, research associate, UZH 2007–2008

Permos Office

The PERMOS Office is the executive body that manages and administers the network. It is jointly hosted by the University of Fribourg and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF.

Dr. Jeannette Noetzli, Head PERMOS 
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
Alpine Environment and Natural Hazards / CERC / Permafrost
Flüelastrasse 11, CH-7260 Davos Dorf | +41 81 417 0375

Dr. Cécile Pellet, Science Officer 
University of Fribourg 
Department of Geosciences 
Chemin du Musée 4, CH-1700 Fribourg | +41 26 300 9385


The PERMOS Network contributes to the Swiss cryosphere and climate observation and is an early component of the global permafrost monitoring.

PERMOS is part of the federal structures for monitoring of the cryosphere in the Swiss Alps, which includes glaciers, snow and permafrost. It complements the Glacier Monitoring Switzerland GLAMOS, which was established at the end of the 19th century, and the snow monitoring by WSL-SLF and MeteoSwiss. The Cryospheric Commission (CC) of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) is responsible for their coordination. The Swiss GCOS Office at MeteoSwiss coordinates the long-term climatological observations of so-called Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) in Switzerland.

Within the international framework of permafrost monitoring, PERMOS contributes to the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P), the primary programme concerned with the collection of long-term permafrost data. GTN-P was established within the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

The PERMOS Office and researchers involved in PERMOS closely collaborate with a large number of programmes and projects concerned with permafrost and mountain cryosphere observation.

PERMOS collaborates with several national permafrost monitoring programmes in the Alps, in Europe, as well as globally. The primary programme for global permafrost observation is the GTN-P.

  • Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P)

National and regional programmes and institutions concerned with long-term permafrost observation.

PERMOS and PERMOS scientists are involved in many national and international research programmes. This collaboration is important for PERMOS to continously evaluate and update the monitoring strategy based on the newest findings. And PERMOS provides the largest and most comprehensive data set on mountain permaforst to the research programmes.

National projects

  • Rock glacier dynamics in the Swiss Alps (RoDynAlpS), research project by UniFR, UniL, UZH and WSL-SLF, funded by SNSF, 2023–2027.
  • PAMIR: Towards an interdisciplinary understanding of climate change on the Third Pole, Swiss Polar Institute, 2022–2026.
  • Unprecedented permafrost thaw (ExtremeThaw): Unlocking ground for new life and release of old soil carbon, pollutants and pathogens. WSL-funded project, 2021–2025.Rock glacier inventory of Switzerland (SwissRG2020), UniFR, 2020–2025.

International projects