Tarfala Forskningsstation
Institutionen för naturgeografi
Stockholms Universitet
106 91 Stockholm
Station Manager:
Nina Kirchner
Per Holmlund
TA/RA contacts:
Nina Filippova
Per Holmlund


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


Tarfala Research Station is located at 1130 m a.s.l. in the high alpine 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.


Tarfala Research Station is situated in a rapidly changing environment, which offers 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 70 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.


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.


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 efforts include studies of vegetation development and biogeochemistry in ice, snow, water, and soil. Tarfala Research Station has its own program for monitoring climate effects 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 effects of climate change and is freely accessible.Tarfala is part of the Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science (SITES).


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


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.


This service is provided by INTERACT partner MAPILLARY

EU Logo