Axel Hamberg (1863 - 1933)

Axel Hamberg was a pioneer of Swedish glaciology and is most famous for his comprehensive investigation of the Sarek alpine area in Lapland. His work was primarily characterised by the development of methods and techniques. His careful series of meaurements over a long time period  has enhanced our understanding about patterns and processes in the natural world, especially in relation to glaciers and climate change.

When Axel Hamberg began his career, Sweden was a world leader in polar research. Hamberg studied minerology and hydrography, and early on became interested in modern methods of analysis in the field. During his twenties he participated in several polar expeditions, which gave him great familiarity with the instruments and made him into a field researcher with scientific breadth.

Sarek – a gigantic project

For 36 years, Axel Hamberg ran an enormous project: to scientifically explore the high alpine area of Sarek. He recorded measurements each summer and during some winters.

In 1907 Hamberg became Professor of Geography at Uppsala University, but he continued with his research in Sarek for as long as his strength held out. For meteorological and climate research today, Hamberg’s long series of measurements provide valuable reference data, even though only a small percentage of his material has ever been published. However, his main contribution was the development of methods and techniques.

1883                    participates as hydrographer in Nordenskiöld’s expedition to Greenland
1895                    research in Sarek begins and will continue for 36 years
1901                    gains his doctoral degree in Uppsala with a thesis based on his Sarek
1907                    Professor of Geography at Uppsala University