Picture of Tarfala Research Station for arctic enivironment reseach
Coffee at the front of the Tarfala filed station. Photo: Ninis Rosquist

Tarfala Research Station

NAME AND OWNER

Tarfala Research Station is owned and run by the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden.

LOCATION

Tarfala Research Station is located at 1130 m a.s.l. in the highalpine Kebnekaise Mountains, northern Sweden. The catchment reaches from 700 to 2100 m a.s.l. and includes several small glaciers of which Storglaciären is extensively studied. The nearest settlement is the Sami village Nikkaluokta, 25 km southeast of the station. There is a mountain tourist station 7 km, and a tourist hut 1 km from Tarfala.

BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Tarfala Research Station is situated in a rapidly changing environment, which off ers good opportunities for a variety of bio-geochemical studies. The Storglaciären is one of the best studied glaciers in the World. The long mass-balance record shows how the glacier has responded to seasonal climate variability during the last 67 years. The retreat of the glacier since the early 1900s is also well documented. Permafrost in the catchment is patchy, the vegetation ranges from high-alpine flora to mountain birch forest at the tree-line. The area provides the headwaters for the unregulated Kalix River. Wildlife in the area includes reindeer, wolverine, fox, hare, stout, lemmings, and ptarmigan.

HISTORY AND FACILITIES

The measurements of mass balance on Storglaciären started in the spring of 1946. At that time the scientists used a simple tourist hut as base-camp. In the 1950s, a couple of buildings were built on the present location of the station. The facility could welcome the fi rst students and international scientists in the early 1960s. Today, Tarfala Research Station is a modern facility off ering research and education opportunities in a unique subarctic high-alpine setting. Tarfala has c. 25 beds for guests. Rooms with two to four beds are located in houses with running water and dry toilets. Included in the per diem price is breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner. There are no shops in the vicinity. Tarfala Research Station has a modern lecture hall and a well equipped workshop. Internet access via GSM antenna is provided.

GENERAL RESEARCH AND DATABASES

Research at Tarfala Research Station focuses on the coupling between climate and glaciers, glacier dynamics, glacial hydrology, high alpine geomorphology, mountain meteorology, and permafrost. New eff orts include studies of vegetation development and biogeochemistry in ice, snow, water, and soil. Tarfala Research Station has its own program for monitoring climate eff ects on the sub-arctic nature including glacier mass balance, mountain meteorology, glacial hydrology, snow-chemistry, and permafrost. The data gives scientists unique and detailed information on the short- and long- term eff ects of climate change and is freely accessible.

HUMAN DIMENSION

The nearest village is Nikkaluokta, inhabited by c. 30, mainly Sami people.

ACCESS

Tarfala is located c. 25 km from the nearest village, Nikkaluokta, and 7 km from the Kebnekaise tourist station from where hiking and skiing to the station is possible. Local transport can be arranged from Nikkaluokta to Tarfala by snowmobile in winter and by helicopter in summer. Nikkaluokta is located 60 km west of Kiruna, which can be reached by plane or train from Stockholm.

Site Information table. Downloadable Pdf

Stor glacier. Photo: Ninis Rosquist

Contact Details

Director: Gunhild Rosqvist
Email: ninis@natgeo.su.se

Tel:
Tarfala +46(0) 980-55039
Stockholm U +46(0)8-164983
 
Fax:
Tarfala +46(0)98055043
Stockholm U +46(0)8-164818

Web: http://www.ink.su.se/english/tarfala-research-station

Photo:Ninis Rosquist
Photo:Ninis Rosquist
Photo:Ninis Rosquist
Photo:Ninis Rosquist