The Swiss autumn season this year is among the mildest and warmest since records began. Temperatures between the start of September and the end of November were 1.6°C higher than the 1981-2010 average, according to the meteorological service MeteoSwiss.
The third-warmest autumn since records began has followed hard on the heels of the third-warmest summer and the fourth-mildest spring. Only the record autumn of 2006 and that of 2014 saw warmer average temperatures than this year.
That means that four of the five warmest autumn seasons in Switzerland have been recorded within the past 15 years.
The northern side of the Alps unusually saw more sunshine and less rain than in the southern region bordering Italy, MeteoSwiss said on Thursday.
The Italian-speaking canton Ticino saw above-average sunshine in September and October, but recordings at the measuring stations in Lugano and Locarno-Monti witnessed a sudden plunge in November. The last month of autumn saw the least sunshine south of the Alps since records began in 1959.
Climate change is driving Switzerland towards drier and warmer weather with more rainfall but less snow, according to recent modelling by MeteoSwiss, ETH Zurich and the University of Bern.
In the longer term, summer average temperatures will be 2.5-4.5°C higher than today. Droughts of about three weeks in summer are to be expected, the researchers warned.