Recent air and ground temperature increases at Tarfala Research Station, Sweden

  • Ulf Jonsell Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden
  • Regine Hock Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7320, USA
  • Martial Duguay Department of Quaternary Geology and Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Keywords: Air temperature, climate change, permafrost, lapse rate, degree-days, NAO


Long-term data records are essential to detect and understand environmental change, in particular in generally data-sparse high-latitude and high-altitude regions. Here, we analyse a 47-year air temperature record (1965-2011) at Tarfala Research Station (67° 54.7'N, 18° 36.7'E, 1135 m a.s.l.) in northern Sweden, and a nearby 11-year record of 100-m-deep ground temperature (2001-11; 1540 m a.s.l.). The air temperature record shows a mean annual air temperature of -3.5±0.9°C (±1 standard deviation s) and a linear warming trend of ±0.042°C yr-1. The warming trend shows large month-to-month variations with the largest trend in January followed by October. Also, the number of days with positive mean daily temperatures and positive degree-day sums has increased during the last two decades compared to the previous period. Temperature lapse rates derived from the mean daily Tarfala record and an air temperature record at the borehole site average 4.5°C km-1 and tend to be higher in summer than in winter. Mean summer air temperatures at Tarfala explain 76% of the variance of the summer glacier mass balance of nearby Storglacia¨ren. Consistent with the observed increase in Tarfala’s air temperature, the ground temperature record shows significant permafrost warming with the largest trend (0.047°C yr-1) found at 20 m depth.

Keywords: Air temperature; climate change; permafrost; lapse rate; degree-days; NAO

(Published: 15 July 2013)

Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 19807,


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How to Cite
Jonsell, U., Hock, R., & Duguay, M. (2013). Recent air and ground temperature increases at Tarfala Research Station, Sweden. Polar Research, 32.
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