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Abisko-Stordalen has a long lasting history of climate and vegetation research going back to the 1970s. 

The Abisko area is located on the 0°C isotherm which causes the permafrost in the mire to be of sporadic and of very dynamic nature. As a result of recent years warming in the area permafrost has been observed to degrade in many parts of the mires.

Abisko-Stordalen is the location of an ICOS Ecosystem station. 
blue arrowMaps and images



The Abisko-Stordalen measurement site (68°21′N, 19°03′E, 360 m asl) is located within the sporadic permafrost zone, 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

The site represents a subtype of sub-arctic wetlands, characterized by palsas. 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 palsas,
  • moss Sphagnum dominated hollows, and
  • cottongrass Eriophorum and sedge Carex dominated hollows.



The peatland in Abisko-Stordalen is fed only by precipitation, i.e. it faces ombrotrophic conditions. Depending on soil water content and microtopography, the plant community structure and composition varies between:

  • Dry ombrotrophic parts are dominated by crowberry Empetrum hermaphroditum, lingonberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea and cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus;
  • semi-wet ombrotrophic parts by the sedge Carex rotundata and the cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum; and
  • wet minerotrophic areas by the cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium.



The Köppen climate classification characterizes the climate in Abisko as humid subarctic with cold summers and cold winters. The annual mean temperature in Abisko is -0.1°C (data period 1981-2010) with increasing temperatures over the last decades (for the 1961-1990 normal it is -0.9°C).

The location is characterized by belonging to the driest regions of Sweden with a mean annual accumulated precipitation of 332 mm (data period 1981-2010, 10% more compared to the 1961-1990 normal). The low amount of precipitation has profound effects on the palsa features found on the mire.

The length of the vegetation period (i.e. days with a daily mean temperature above 0.4°C) is slightly longer than three months.


ICOS and non-ICOS measurements

blue arrowMeasured variables

Besides the standard ICOS measurements (see table in link) n there are also laughing gas N2O flux measurements, as an example, carried out at the site. For more detailed information please contact the station.



Erik Lundin is the station principal investigator for the ICOS Ecosystem station at Abisko-Stordalen, and can be contacted regarding its data and measurements at email:stordalen(at)icos-sweden.se


Abisko Stordalen igloo and instruments

Soil profile

Vegetation Stordalen. Photo Christian Stiegler