Research in Abisko

Abisko Scientific Research Station

Abisko Scientific Research Station is an important part of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat’s infrastructure for polar research. In Abisko we offer scientists and students an easily accessible way to work in a subarctic environment with varied nature, in topography and geology, as well as in climate.

Climate research in Abisko attracts scientists from all over the world

At the research station several unique long-term experiments are conducted, attracting scientists from all over the world. Every year the research station receives around 200 scientists who study the birch woods, mires, mountain heaths, alpine and glaciated areas, lakes, and rivers. Through experiments the scientists improve their understanding of how increased carbon dioxide levels, UVB radiation, ground and air temperature, and snow depth affect the ecosystems and the processes within these systems.

Within the different research projects, all aspects of life in the local environment are considered, from microbes to tourists, in a time frame from hundreds of millions of years back in time, to different future scenarios.

Available for scientists, students and conference participants

At the research station scientists, students and conference participants have access to laboratories, greenhouses, experimental gardens, meeting rooms, lecture halls, workshops, kitchens and living facilities. As a scientist, you have access to five field huts near the station.

Data gathering and environment monitoring

The station’s long-term records extend back to 1913 and include several different environmental variables, for example climate, snow depth, as well as the ice thickness and ice duration on Torneträsk. In addition, environment monitoring is performed in the areas of hydrology, water chemistry, flora and fauna, as well as phenology, geomagnetism, and atmospheric carbon isotope composition.

Laboratories and equipment

At the station we have greenhouses and experimental gardens, as well as around 25 laboratories, for example:

  • chemistry laboratory
  • general purpose laboratories
  • geoscience laboratory/soil laboratory
  • instrument laboratory
  • isotope laboratory
  • limnology laboratory
  • microbial laboratory
  • microscope laboratory
  • plant laboratory
  • sterile laboratory
  • water chemistry laboratory

As a guest at the station you can rent a car and borrow some field equipment, you may also get access to our snowmobile and boat. For a large part of the year you can also rent a helicopter for transports in the Abisko area.

During office hours the station is manned with proficient lab hosts and technicians with a wide range of knowledge.

History of the research station

In 1902, a small house was bought in Katterjokk, around 35 km west of Abisko, to be used as a research station. When the station was destroyed by fire in 1910 an improved research facility was built in Abisko, where the meteorological and natural science research could commence in 1913.

The new research station consisted of a wooden building that was used until 1970. In the first period of the research station until the end of the Second World War, the research was conducted under relatively primitive conditions. Over the years the station has been expanded to receive more scientists and the equipment has been successively modernised.

From the very beginning, atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, winds, and precipitation has been monitored at the station and today there are unique collections of environmental data from more than 100 years of observations. There is also extensive documentation of the research in the form of scientific publications.

Doing research work at the station

If you want to carry out research, arrange a course or hold a conference at Abisko Scientific Research Station, you must fill out the application form. Apply 31 March at the latest, if you want to visit the station during the current season.

How to get here

Abisko Scientific Research Station is easily accessible, the airports in Kiruna and Narvik are only 100 km away. It’s also easy to get to Abisko by train or car.

Last modified: 29 August 2018