Troll – the Norwegian research station in Antarctica
Troll is the Norwegian research station in Antarctica. Meteorological observations and measurements of radiation, including UV radiation, are undertaken, as well as field research programmes on glaciology, biology and physics. Troll operates all the year round.
Troll is around 235 km from the coast, at Jutulsessen in Dronning Maud Land, a central area for Norwegian research in Antarctica. Located at 72° 01´ S, 2° 32´ E, Troll Station stands on bare ground 1270 m above sea level on the Jutulsessen nunatak, entirely surrounded by the vast Antarctic ice cap, unlike most research stations in Antarctica, which are placed on snow.
The station is manned all the year round. It can accommodate eight people in the Antarctic winter and many more in summer. The station had to withstand temperatures as low as -60 °C and wind speeds of up to 60 m a second.
The new building is approximately 300 m2 in size and has eight bedrooms, an exercise room, a sauna, a large kitchen, a communications room and office space for all those wintering there. Several separate buildings contain laboratories, stores, generators and a garage, in addition to emergency living quarters for eight people at a safe distance from the main base in the event of a fire or other mishap.
Transportatin to and from Troll is conducted on a 3000-metre-long airstrip Troll Airfield, located on the blue ice a few kilometres from the research station. The airstrip is operative in the Antarctic summer, between October and February and is reserved for scientific activities and cannot be used by commercial operatives.
Personnel from the research station take care of safety aspects and maintain the runway. The airstrip is part of the Queen Maud Land Air Network Project, a cooperative project between eleven nations working in Queen Maud Land.
Environment in focus
The original Troll research station was built before the Antarctic Treaty Environmental Protocol in 1991, but focus on the environment has now been integrated into all the activity.
Some of the environmental measures
- to demarcate the area used so that development of the station takes place within a limited area.
- to reduce energy consumption, in part by ensuring that excess heat is not released into the environment but is used to melt snow and ice for drinking water and the central heating system.
- the modules of the station itself are constructed in an energy effective manner.
- Reducing waste achieved by planning purchasing and recycling.
- The waste is sorted and compressed before being transported out of the Antarctic.
- Fuel is stored and handled in such a way that a chance of even the smallest spills is minimised. There is equipment and emergency plans to deal with any spills that should occur.
In addition to all these precautions, the institute carries out thorough monitoring and registering to follow-up the intention that Troll Station be a leading environmental station in the Antarctic.
In June 2003, the Minister of the Environment, Børge Brende, announced that the Troll Station would be extended and be manned all the year round. A 300 meter long landing strip opened in connection with the extension. The completion of Troll Airfield meant that people and equipment could be transported to and from the station more quickly, less expensively and with less risk.
Prefabricated modules was shipped from Cape Town to the ice edge. Weasels transported 35 standard containers and 115 tons of steel foundations, amounting to 350 tons, from there over crevasses and ice to the station.
The upgraded Troll Research Station was officially opened on 12 February 2005 by Queen Sonja, who arrived on a Hercules plane from South Africa. About 60 people were present at the opening, including the then Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, Olav Orheim, the present Director, Jan-Gunnar Winther, representatives of the South African government, the Norwegian Parliament and the Norwegian Foreign Office, as well as the Swedish Minister of the Environment, Lena Sommerstad.