Experience the changing climate
over time as you climb
these stairs…

The Climate Stairs-Project

Thank you for choosing the stairs! Whether consciously or unconsciously, this decision not only has a positive effect on your health but you also avoid further CO2 emissions that would otherwise have a negative impact on our climate.

Many residents and students climb these stairs of the Dohlengässlein every day. With each step, the body temperature rises slightly. This is similar to what is happening to our planet. The climate is warming up from year to year, in Switzerland even twice as fast as worldwide. The Climate Stairs want to raise awareness on this social challenge. The project was launched as part of the master certificate Managing Climate Solutions of the University of St.Gallen (MaCS-HSG). It is a joint collaboration with the city of St.Gallen within the framework of the label «Energy City Gold».

The climate staircase starts in 1868 and climbs – step by step – 162 stairs up to the year 2030. In this way, you can experience the temperature change in Switzerland over the past decades up to the present. To achieve the net-zero target of 2050, CO2 emissions must be halved by 2030. In fact, 2030 lies only a few years ahead. Therefore, it is crucial that we act now!

What are the climate stripes?

Climate stripes are a graphical illustration of the temperature changes over time. Each stripe represents one year with the corresponding temperature deviation from the base temperature. The base temperature for Switzerland is the average temperature between 1961 and 1990. Deviations from this reference value determine the color of the stripes. The color scale of the climate stripes ranges from blue for cooler years to red for years in which the temperature was above average.

How are Switzerland and St.Gallen
affected by climate change?

To date, Switzerland has warmed by 2.5 degrees Celsius (average temperature from 2013–2022) compared to the pre-industrial era (average temperature from 1871–1900). This is more than twice as much as the global average. Various effects on many other climate variables in Switzerland are the result: heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense, the number of snow days in regions below 800 meters above sea level has decreased by 50% since 1970, and heavy rainfall occurs more frequently and intensively.(Source: MeteoSwiss, n.d.)

Material used

After looking at different materials, a conscious decision was made to make the stripes for this project out of aluminum panels. The production of aluminum causes many CO2 emissions. However, due to its robustness and recyclability, aluminum is nevertheless a suitable material for this project, as it can be kept in circulation for longer periods of time.


MeteoSwiss. (n.d.). Climate change. Retrieved May 9, 2023, from https://www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/climate/climate-change.html


MeteoSwiss. (n.d.). Climate change. Retrieved May 9, 2023, from https://www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/