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Page history:

January 10, 2011:
First release
January 3, 2014:
Latest update


Click for contact information or details about the ICOS measurements .

Within ICOS Sweden the Abisko-Stordalen mire site is the northernmost site. The site represents a subtype of sub-arctic wetlands, characterized by palsas. The site has been subject of carbon cycle research since the 1970’ties and being located very close to the 0°C isotherm it represents a very dynamic part of the sub-arctic region. This site is operated by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat at their Abisko Scientific Research Station . Within ICOS Abisko-Stordalen is an ecosystem station. The site specific principal investigator is Thomas Friborg from the University of Copenhagen.


The Abisko-Stordalen measurement site (lat. 68°21'N, lon. 19°03'E) is located within the sporadic permafrost zone along the 0°C isotherm at 360 m above sea level, adjacent to lake Torneträsk. A large portion of the mire consists of a slightly elevated drained area, altered by wetter depressions, which are not underplayed by permafrost.

Geology and Soil

Peat depth is 1-3 m and permafrost is usually found at depths below 0.5-1 m. The soil is organic, with 99% organic matter content. There are three different main types of surface structures: dwarf shrub-dominated hummocks, Sphagnum dominated hollows, and Eriophorum and Carex dominated hollows.

Ecosystem site Abisko-Stordalen. Click to enlarge.


Depending on soil water content and microtopography, the plant community structure and composition varies between different classes typical of ombrotrophic conditions: Dry ombrotrophic parts are dominated by Empetrum hermaphroditum, Vaccinium vitis-idaea and Rubus chamaemorus; semi-wet ombrotrophic parts by Carex rotundata and Eriophorum vaginatum; and wet minerotrophic areas by Eriophorum angustifolium.

Climate Diagram Abisko. Click to enlarge.


The annual mean temperature in Abisko region is –0.14°C and the mean annual accumulated precipitation is 332 mm (data period 1981-2010), with increasing temperatures over the last decades. The low amount of precipitation has profound effects on the palsa features found on the mire. The length of the vegetation period (daily mean temp. of >0.4°C) is slightly longer than three months.

Non-ICOS Measurements

Besides standard ICOS measurements the research station also operates N2O flux measurements.

Flux tower. Click to enlarge.

Profile tower. Click to enlarge.