Next week a Finnish-Swedish-Norwegian group will head for Svalbard to see if it is possible to re-open the old Kinnvika research station. It was built within the framework of a Swedish-Norwegian-Swiss collaborative project in 1957.

– The idea is to get it functioning again during the coming International Polar Year, exactly 50 years after it was set up, says Veijo Pohjola, associate professor at the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University, and one of the participants in the expedition.

Kinnvika is in the very northernmost region of the European continent, a mere 1,000 km from the North Pole. This remote, arctic desert region is home to a large number of polar bears and is of great scientific interest in terms of the effects of climate change on the Arctic. Since 1958 there has been no funding to run the station, built of timber for about 15 people, so it has been more or less forgotten.

– But the few people who have been there say that the dry climate has preserved the station well, says Veijo Pohjola.

The expedition will use the Norwegian vessel M/S Farm and will depart from Longyearbyen in central Svalbard on Monday, September 5. Once there, the scientists will carry out a preliminary study and assess the cost of renovating the station. Its proximity to the modern station in Ny Ålesund on western Svalbard makes it easier to pursue new projects at Kinnvika, which is situated in the considerably more extreme northeastern climate zone.

The project aims to strengthen arctic research and enhance cooperation between the Nordic countries. The steering committee has members from universities and research institutes from all of the Nordic countries. But the project has also attracted great interest around the world, with a total of 77 scientists from 15 countries. The expedition is being funded by the Nordic Research Council.

Pohjola, Veijo – Docent, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, +46 18 471 2509, +46 709 617 160 veijo.pohjola@geo.uu.se

Flinkman, Juha – Senior Scientist, Finnish Institute of Marine Research, +358 40 750 3911, juha.flinkman@fimr.fi

Isakson, Elisabeth – Dr. Elisabeth Isaksson, Norwegian Polar Institute, The Polar Environmental Centre, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway, elli@npolar.no

Kalakoski, Mika – Planner, Finnish Antarctic Logistics, +358 50 359 2792, mika.kalakoski@fimr.fi

Kankaanpää, Paula – Project Leader, Director, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, +358 40 7777 825, paula.kankaanpaa@ulapland.fi

Moore, John – Senior Researcher, Arctic Centre +358 40 5007775, john.moore@ulapland.fi

Wråkberg, Urban – Dr, Swedish Programme for Social Science Research in the Polar Regions & Royal Institute of Technology. +46 707898134, urban@spkp.se