Stories of Change - 100 years of data at the edge of the Arctic

Abisko holds a position of deep interest to Sweden, with its dramatic Arctic landscapes and fascinating ecology and history.  From 1913 researchers began recording climate date at the Abisko Scientific Research Station, built just one year before.  With one of the longest weather data records in the Arctic, we can now understand the fluctuations in climate that have occurred over the last one hundred years, and look to the future of Abisko and the Arctic. Shrinking alpine glaciers, rising temperatures, shifting treelines and more tell a story of dramatic change here at the edge of Arctic climate region.

Most of us are interested in the day-to-day variations in wind, temperature, rain and snow at specific locations – after all, they have a direct impact on our lives. Even more interesting than just today’s weather, however, is looking across the days, weeks, seasons and years.  Having long-term weather data can give us clues into how the climate is behaving. 

Here at the Abisko Scientific Research Station we know the average monthly temperatures, the typical snow depths in winter, the amount of rain or snow that has fallen each month, and how long lake Torneträsk is covered by ice each year. All of these pieces of our climate puzzle come together to show a dramatically changing climate, especially over the last 30 years.  Around the globe, temperatures are increasing and the climate is changing in multiple ways.

We will explore the changing climate of Abisko following four main themes and datasets: Temperature, Precipitation, Lake Ice Presence, and Snow Depth.  Additionally, downstream effects of these changes are explored in the individual climate stories.  In these you will gain an understanding of how decreasing snow depth will affect lemmings, for example.