Abisko Scientific Research Station


Tree-line heath near Abisko Scientific Research Station in May 2013. In the background a long-term warming experiment with open top chambers, run by CENPERM scientists. (Photo credit: Anders Michelsen).

Abisko Scientific Research Station is located at 68º21’N, 18º49’E in subarctic Northern Sweden, about 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, near the small town Abisko, with a railway station on the railway line between Kiruna and Narvik. The station is open all year with laboratories, offices, workshops, lecture theatres and a meteorological observatory which started in 1913.

The station’s long term records include climate, snow depth, ice thickness and ice duration. Ecological research at Abisko covers the birch forest, mires, mountain heaths, alpine regions, glacier forefields, lakes and rivers. The station hosts a unique set of long-term environmental manipulation experiments, including a range of long-term experiments run by CENPERM scientists, seeking to understand the impacts of increased carbon dioxide concentrations, UV-B radiation, soil temperature, air temperature and snow depth on ecosystems and their processes.

At the Stordalen mire, 10 km east of Abisko, discontinuous permafrost has thawed over the past 30 years. Wetland vegetation is considerably enlarged in extent, and methane emissions have also increased. Exchanges of methane and carbon dioxide between soils and the atmosphere are a concern for future positive feedbacks to the climate system.