“April weather” – is it real?

“April weather”, we would say. It was a simple fact of life, as inevitable as death and taxes, and to be endured with the same humility. The weather in April just sucked. After March’s promise of spring, April was a throwback into darker, colder times.

We even have a country saying: “April, April, der macht, was er will” (“April, April does whatever it wants”). It conjures up the reign of a despotic weather god submitting the land to unpredictable conditions. And indeed, weather sites are happy to explain to you the exact meteorological constellations that make April as changeable and unpleasant as no other month (e.g. here).

It’s a strange truth that we often do not question things we’ve grown up with, as easy to test and as implausible they may seem once we think about them. It took me decades to question the validity of folk wisdom about the capriciousness of April, but, finally, here I am, armed with some data and a great program to analyze them! Continue reading


The Perfect Climate Index, Take I

What is the ideal climate? After having recently experienced the silky sensual feeling of low day-night temperature difference (here), I’m adding it together with a bunch of usual suspects – high T max, long sunshine hours, litle precipitation – to form a composite measure of good weather: the Perfect Climate Index (PCI).

I’m testing the PCI on Switzerland, a country not exactly known as a weather paradise. All the more important to find the occasional dry and warm spot! Continue reading

The nicest place to live in Switzerland

Last December, I discovered the secret of a perfect climate. Yes, I already knew: warm weather, little rain, and lots of sunshine. But when I spent some time on the Canary Islands – wow! – I experienced the bliss of mild days segueing into only minmally less mild nights. Twenty-three degrees during the day, 20° at night. Barely a difference!

But how about my own country? People in Switzerland (“Swissies”‘, as P. calls them) mostly think of the weather as a punishment. Wouldn’t it be great to find some relief from the dreary reality of cool days with gray skies? Might there be, somewhere within the borders of this little nation, a mild spot of low temperature variance?

After puzzling over these questions for a while, I decided to embark on an epic journey to find the answer. Continue reading