Abisko Scientific Research Station in northern Sweden and the Wasa and Svea research stations in Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica are part of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat’s permanent infrastructure for research.
Abisko Scientific Research Station
Abisko Scientific Research Station is a unique, modern and comprehensive infrastructure situated about 200 km north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden (68º21’N, 18º49’E). It has international standard facilities that support a range of research from observation and monitoring to high-tech experimentation within terrestrial and freshwater environments. The surroundings are characterised by a high variability of topography, geology and climate.
The station is easily accessible by road and rail, and airports are just about 100 km away in Kiruna and Narvik. The main complex includes accommodation and self catering facilities for visiting scientists, students and conference participants, and there are laboratories, offices, workshops, lecture theatres, greenhouses, experimental gardens, storage facilities and a meteorological observatory.
Wasa and Svea
The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat operates two research stations in Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica: Wasa and Svea. The locations of both Wasa and Svea are suitable for research in many disciplines, including glaciology, geodesy, environmental studies, medicine, epidemiology, microbial ecology, and atmospheric research.
The Wasa research station is in operation during the Antarctic summer seasons. The station is situated on the Basen nunatak in Vestfjella in Dronning Maud Land and was built during the 1988/89 Antarctic expedition. The station was designed to be extremely energy efficient, with energy supplied mainly by solar and wind power.
Scientists have access to a working module and an observation module, both of which contain office workstations and rest facilities. Customised support is available and each season can be uniquely tailored to current research projects. Wasa also provides access to functional workstations for analysis and basic mechanical tasks such as service, repair or adaptation of instruments.
The main building is 17.5×7.6 m, made of wood, and rests on 1.5 m high poles in order to avoid the accumulation of snow. The station house consists of four bedrooms, a large kitchen, and a common room. There is also a sauna, shower, and laundry room. The station accommodates 12–16 people.
Near the main building is the 7.5×6 m generator house, which contains generators, the water supply system, and a workshop. Twenty-foot containers are used for storage.
Svea is located in the Scharffenbergbotnen valley in the Heimefrontfjella mountain range, about 400 km from the coast. It was built during the 1987/88 Antarctic expedition and was the first Swedish research station in Antarctica since the Snow Hill station in 1901 and Maudheim in 1949.
Svea is a satellite station to Wasa and is an excellent base for small, transient research teams performing fieldwork in the area. The station, comprising two joined fibreglass modules, is about 12 m2 and has four beds and one pantry.
The station is currently the home base for two permanent monitoring projects: continual geodetic measurement using GPS technology, run by the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and a seismograph that records movements in the earth’s crust, run by the German Alfred Wegener Institute.
Transportation and partnerships
The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat has developed a system of off-road trucks, tracked vehicles, sledges and housing modules for transportation to the scientists’ workplaces. Snowmobiles are used for shorter, less laborious fieldwork.
Wasa and the other research stations in Dronning Maud Land are reached through the aviation partnership within DROMLAN, the Dronning Maud Land Air Network.
The Finnish Aboa Research Station form together with Wasa the Nordenskiöld Base Camp, which can accommodate about 30 people. Due to the well-established partnership between Sweden and Finland, the stations can offer adaptable support to research projects of various natures.