Close collaboration between the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) at ETH Zurich and a wide variety of national and international partners ensures that the SED is capable of discharging its public duties efficiently and conducting research to high standards. The SED's closest partners are listed below, along with a brief description of the type of cooperation involved.
The SED was attached to ETH Zurich in 1957. Since 2009 it has been a non-departmental entity reporting to the Vice-President for Research and Economic Relations. ETH Zurich provides a perfect environment for combining the SED's public duties as the federal agency responsible for monitoring seismic activity in Switzerland with leading-edge seismological research. A steering committee guarantees close cooperation and support within the ETH.
The SED works closely alongside the Institute of Geophysics and the Department of Earth Sciences. SED Director Stefan Wiemer is also a professor of seismology in that department. Many SED staff members teach at ETH Zurich and supervise students, including PhD candidates.
The SED conducts joint research with other university-level institutions within the framework of many different national, European and international projects. This guarantees an ongoing exchange of information across national borders.
Federal authorities issue warnings on natural hazards to the public, the media and cantonal and/or municipal authorities. The federal agencies responsible for monitoring natural hazards are coordinated by the Steering Committee Intervention in Natural Hazards (LAINAT) and work closely together at all levels.
The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Federal Office of Meterology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss), the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) with the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) and the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) have joined forces in the Steering Committee Intervention in Natural Hazards (LAINAT). The secretariat for the Common Information Platform for Natural Hazards (GIN) is attached to the LAINAT secretariat.
The FOCP is responsible for the protection of the population in cases of catastrophes and emergencies. The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) runs the federal Reporting and Situation Centre (MLZ) when major natural hazards occur. As a
MeteoSwiss is the national weather and climate service for the Swiss public, for government, industry and science. With its public service it ensures the basic supply of weather and climate information in Switzerland and thereby makes a substantial contribution to the well-being and the safety of the population. Surface observation systems, weather radars, satellites, radio sounding and other remote sensing instruments monitor the weather. Using the collected data, the weather services of MeteoSwiss generate forecasts and warn authorities and the public of imminent severe weather. Furthermore, these data are exploited by our teams of experts who analyze climate change and extreme weather events and develop scenarios for climate development in Switzerland.
The mission of the FOEN is to ensure the sustainable use of natural re-sources, including soil, water, air and forests. It is responsible for minimising natural hazards, reducing risks to the environment and human health from excessive pollution, conserving biodiversity and representing Switzerland in international environmental policy arenas. With respect to natural hazards, the FOEN is responsible for hydrological forecasts and flood warnings, associated mass movements and risks of forest fires.
The SLF is an interdisciplinary research and service centre working in the fields of snow, avalanches, permafrost and mountain ecological systems. It forms part of the WSL – the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research – and thus belongs to the ETH Domain. The SLF assesses the avalanche danger in the Swiss Alps and issues daily avalanche bulletins in the winter. The SLF's operational snow-hydrological service (OSHD) continuously analyses the distribution of snow water resources and assists the flood warning service of the National Environmental Agency (BAFU).
In the event of earthquakes that cause major damage worldwide, the SED informs the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), which is run by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
The SED monitors various energy projects and shares the gathered information with the authorities running them, the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) or the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).
If an event occurs, the SED immediately passes on all the available information to the cantonal and municipal authorities. In training exercises, together with representatives from various authorities the SED runs through the procedures to be followed.
In 1996, the UN member states agreed to adopt a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTBT), so an International Monitoring System (IMS) was set up to verify compliance with this treaty. The IMS comprises seismological, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide measuring stations, fitted with the necessary communications equipment, and is supported by the International Data Centre (IDC) and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS). The SED contributes by sending the responsible authority in Vienna, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), data recorded by the specially established seismic station in the Davos region.
In addition, the SED is a member of a number of international seismological organisations – the International Seismological Centre (ISC), the International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks (FDSN), the Observatories and Research Facilities for European Seismology (ORFEUS), the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) and the European Seismological Commission (ESC) – and is a partner in the Global Earthquake Model (GEM).
The SED provides seismic monitoring and consultancy services to large-scale construction or energy projects. Such services can only be provided to industry if they don't impinge on the SED's independence (see Independence and Transparency).
The Swiss Seismological Service is an active participant in the organizations and bodies listed below, where it is represented by the following named employees (list valid in January 2016):