Abisko. Photo: Kungahuset.se
The Royal Colloquium continued on Tuesday 21 May, at the Abisko Scientific Research Station in Kiruna.
Following the journey to Kiruna, the afternoon began with a lunch at Arctic Eden. During the lunch, Göran Bäckblom from LKAB gave a talk about Kiruna. He spoke about the Caledonian mountain chain, the Scandinavian Mountains, above which Kiruna is situated. The mountain chain was formed roughly 400 million years ago. The lode of ore that is extracted today was formed almost two billion years ago. It was first written about towards the end of the 17th century, but it was not until the 19th century that mining began. Kiruna was established in 1900. On 14 July 1903, Oscar II officially opened the railway and this created the foundations for the mining industry.
Kiruna city hall. Photo: Kungahuset.se
Kiruna now faces a transformation as the city's centre is to be moved 3km to the east of the current centre. The move is happening as mining in Kiirunavaara has caused ground deformations. In 2007, the municipal council decided that the move should be carried out, to begin during 2014.The talk was followed by a discussion and many asked how the move would be carried out. Who is paying for it? How will Kiruna avoid losing its permanent residents?
After lunch, the bus journey continued to Abisko. During the journey, Terry Callaghan, participant and former head of Abisko Scientific Research Station, explained about the natural environment between Kiruna and Abisko. The landscape is characterised by mountains, marshes and mountain birch trees. Before the arrival of the railway this area was almost inaccessible — the railway and later the road network, which was completed in 1982, changed that.
After arriving at Abisko, Christer Jonasson, who is the current head of Abisko Scientific Research Station, spoke about the research that is being conducted at the station. Abisko Scientific Research Station has a long history and is situated between the village of Abisko, with 180 inhabitants, and Abisko National Park, approximately 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. There was already a research station in the area back in 1903 in Katterjokk, about 30 km from Abisko. In 1910, a new, larger facility was built in Abisko and research began there in 1913. Abisko has a unique collection of environmental data from 100 years of observations, and today the station is leading international climate research. Some 700 researchers visit the station every year.
The King in conversation with Christer Jonasson. Photo: Kungahuset.se
Afterwards the group moved to the old lecture hall, which is located in the building that was originally used as Abisko research station. In the lecture hall, Terry Callaghan and Dirk Helbing initiated a discussion on the theme "Dealing with complexity and extreme events".