The background of IPY-Kinnvika is rooted in the expeditions
to Nordaustlandet led by A.F. Nordenskiöld and H.W. Ahlmann during the
early years of polar exploring. A large station was erected at Kinnvika
in Murchison Bay as a part of the International Geophysical Year (IPY3)
by Swedish-Finnish-Swiss expeditions. The station was manned from 1957
to 1959, and monitored meteorological and upper atmospheric physical
parameters with an aim to improve knowledge of the Arctic atmosphere.
An extensive glaciological campaign was also undertaken during IPY3. The
station was built to the highest modern standards at that time with
electrical power and warm water radiators, and comprised eight separate
wooden buildings and laboratories
During the 1960s and the 1980s Swedish glaciological and geological
expeditions used the station as a platform for spring and summer
campaigns around Murchison Bay and the ice cap Vestfonna. Occasional
small groups have temporarily used its facilities, but the station
remains remote and logistically challenging even today and has been
dormant and in decay, despite the Governor of Svalbard’s aim to preserve
The preparatory phase of IPY-Kinnvika started with writing
up an itinerary for a science plan and identifying work packages where
individual scientists or groups of scientists could contribute according
to their interests. Via an open call, we managed to solicit about 100
scientists interested in the project. With this foundation of ideas we
filed an expression of intent to the IPY-joint commission, and submitted
a proposal to the Nordic Council of Ministers for financial aid to
cover logistical scouting of the Kinnvika station, and its environment.
Both proposals were granted in 2004, with the support of the Finnish and
the Swedish Arctic Council representatives.
In 2005 we negotiated the Environmental Office of the Governor of
Svalbard to visit Kinnvika, and to use the station from 2007 to 2010.
The Governor was very supportive and offered assistance to
refurbish any parts of the station. In September 2005 we sailed up for
an inspection, and found that the station buildings were still proudly
standing but their interiors were in worse shape than expected, and our
plan was revised to make more modest usage of the houses.
Later in 2005 the second and more elaborate expression of intent was
approved by the IPY-committee. With this seal, and with the goodwill of
the Governor of Svalbard to pursue expeditions to the environmentally
restricted natural reserve of Nordaustlandet, the scientists were ready
to submit grant proposals to their respective research councils.
Second proposal to the Nordic Council of Ministers was filled to cover
expenditure for the coming expeditions. The Swedish Polar Research
Secreteriate (SPRS) allocated technical personnel and equipment for
expeditions. Further, a private company, Metsä- Tissue Serla OY/AB/AS,
gave a financial support for expeditions. With the logistical support
from SPRS and the support in for cruises up to Kinnvika with the Polish
research vessel RV Horyzont II, managed by our Polish colleges at the
Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, IPY-Kinnvika became afloat.