All the right moves in Tarfala!

30 October 2020

The team around Tarfala Research Station has relocated one of the SITES automatic weather stations (AWS) to a new site at Eatnamvarri, located app. 10 km west of Kiruna this week. The instruments record air and soil temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, precipitation and snow accumulation. Tarfala also operates automatic weather stations placed at Laevasvaggi and Mella outside the Tarfala valley (see map).

Reindeer pass Eatnamvarri when migrating between winter grazing ranges southeast of Kiruna and spring and summer grazing ranges in the mountainous area in the west. The Laevasvaggi AWS is located in an area used by reindeer when calving in the late spring.

This relocation event has also been a good opportunity to quality control the instrumentation and to change batteries of the AWS at Mella which is located in the forested winter grazing area app. 80 km southeast of Kiruna. The weather and snow data from this AWS show that the number of rain-on-snow events has increased during recent winter seasons. Results from collaborative research together with reindeer herders from Laevas reindeer herding community show that such events severely inhibit reindeer access to ground lichens and force the reindeer to alternative grazing grounds. Some years the reindeer remain in the Eatnamvarri area during the full winter because of too poor grazing conditions in the forest around Mella.

Installing an automatic weather station at Eatnamvarri. Pia Eriksson (Tarfala), Niila Inga (Laevas Sami reindeer herding community), Alexander Linder (Sveriges Radio P4 Norrbotten). Photo: Ninis Rosqvist

Pia Eriksson changing batteries at the automatic weather station located at Mella.
Photo: Ninis Rosqvist


Map showing location of automatic weather stations in Laevasvaggi, Eatnmavarri and Mella.