The snow-water equivalent (SWE) of the seasonal snow cover is an important component of the water cycle in the Swiss Alps. It is used for predicting seasonal discharge, for short-range discharge forecasts and also for assessing water quality aspects. The SWE has been measured every two weeks at about 50 stations located between 860 and 2,540 m a.s.l. for more than 30 years. In addition there are special investigation areas with stations located between 600 m and 2,900 m a.s.l. where SWE is measured once per winter. The main characteristics of temporal and spatial SWE distributions are analyzed. The variations of SWE values depend in ranking order on elevation, on the year-to-year variations, on the region and on the exposition. The standardized SWE-values depend mostly on the year-to-year variations and on the region.

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