Radiation station with sun-tracker. Photo: Christina A. Pedersen / Norwegian Polar Institute
Standard automatic meteorological measurements are taken in both the Troll station area and on the blue ice near the airstrip, 7 km north of the station. The measurements at the airstrip are more representative of the area from a climatological perspective, while the measurements at the station are supplemented with manual observations three times a day. The measurements are used both operationally for weather forecasts and climatologically. Historic weather data is available via the Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s eklima database.
The Norwegian Polar Institute is developing a radiation station with measurements that meet the demands stipulated by the global Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). Insolation and radiation from sunlight and infrared light, and the processes that affect these, are extremely important in determining whether or not the snow surfaces in the area are melting. These measurements, along with continuous cloud measurements, are used to monitor such processes.
The nearby nunatak Svarthamaren, some 100 kilometres east of Troll, is home to the world’s largest colony of Antarctic petrels. Several pairs of snow petrels and Antarctic skuas are also found here. Researchers led by ornithologists from the Norwegian Polar Institute visit the area annually to study the population, adaptation to environmental changes and strategies for nest-building. Petrels live on krill in the marine environment, several hundred kilometres from Svarthamaren. In recent times, the number of pairs has declined sharply, with a reduction of 90 per cent over the last 20 years.
The Polar Institute’s glaciologists are currently involved in a number of projects in Queen Maud Land: MADICE is investigating how the coastal region of Queen Maud Land has changed over the last thousand years by examining drifting ice shelves and ice rises. ICE Rises and POLARGAP are other glaciological projects from the Polar Institute with a large fieldwork component working out of Troll. In 2018, the Polar Institute led a geological expedition aimed at re-mapping Jutulsessen and nearby nunataks. In addition to the mapping work, another goal is to contribute new research that will increase understanding of Queen Maud Land’s geological development, focusing on metamorphic, structural and geochronological studies.
International research collaboration
Troll also facilitates international research collaboration, and in recent years the station has served as a base for microbiologists and geologists from South African universities, as well as a glacial geological project from Japan.
NORSARs seismometer on Nonshøgda. Photo: Christina A. Pedersen / Norwegian Polar Institute
Since 2012, NORSAR has had a broadband seismometer located at Troll that can measure seismic activity (earthquakes etc.) both in the vicinity of the station and globally.
Seismology can also be used as a tool for studying cryospheric processes, and together with glaciologists from the Polar Institute, researchers at NORSAR have been examining the potential to track icebergs along the coast of Queen Maud Land using data from the seismic station at Troll.
Ionosphere and space weather
The University of Oslo is currently establishing instrumentation for automatic measurements of the ionosphere and space weather. During the 2017/2018 season, an instrument was installed that continuously measures scintillations and electron density in the ionosphere. Furthermore, during the 2018/2019 season, an All Sky Imager will be established at the station to observe the Southern lights.
NILU’s atmospheric observatory on Trollhaugen. Photo: Wenke Aas, NILU
An atmospheric observatory run by NILU is located on Trollhaugen, 1,533 metres above sea level and 1 km east of the Troll research station. The work at the observatory includes characterising the composition of the atmosphere, measuring seasonal and yearly variations in the air masses and studying the transport of air pollution to the area. In addition, the observations are helping to interpret the trace element analyses of ice core specimens. The following components are measured: CO and greenhouse gases, the properties of aerosols, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), hydrocarbons, mercury, ozone and UV radiation. A large air sample is also taken every six months, contributing to an air archive for future analyses of new components and issues. The measurements were initially taken in 2007 closer to the station area, but were moved to Trollhaugen in 2014.