About Storglaciären

Storglaciären is a polythermal valley glacier located in northern Sweden. It is considered to be polythermal because the upper portion of the glacier is below the freezing point of water. However, below the cold surface layer the temperature of the ice is at the melting point of water. Therefore, during the summer melting season a lot of water is released from below Storglaciären as streams that emerge from the terminus of the glacier. Storglaciären covers an area of about 3 km2, and has a maximum depth of 250 meters.

Storglaciären is situated near the Tarfala Research Station, which is operated by Stockholm University. Tarfala Research Station was constructed in 1947 when formal studies of Storglaciären began by Swedish glaciologist Walter Schytt. The research station provides living accommodations (sleeping rooms, baths, kitchen and dining hall) as well as a wet lab, dark room, shop, and conference room. As a result, Storglaciären is probably the most studied valley glacier in the world. In addition, it has the longest continuous record of annual mass balance measurements. Mass balance measurements continue on Storglaciären to this day.

The surface cold layer of Storglaciären can be easily observed with ice radar, as shown here.