Norway has had a presence in Antarctica since the early days of exploration,
culminating in territorial claims to Bouvetøya, Peter I Øy
and Dronning Maud Land in 1939. It was one of the first signatories
to the Antarctic Treaty.
Research programmes have been co-ordinated by the Norwegian Polar Institute
since 1948, and during the 1989/90 season the summer station 'Troll'
was established on Princess Martha Coast. This area is part of Dronning
Maud Land, which comprises one-six of the Antarctic continent. It borders
the British Antarctic Territory to the west and the Australian Antarctic
Territory to the east.
The Troll station is currently being upgraded and will be manned year
round to enable Norway to maintain a continual presence, thereby strengthening
its position as a polar nation and providing new opportunities for climate
research. The aim is also to help preserve and protect the world's purest
There will be seven scientists based at the station during winter seasons
and many more during the summers. Research projects planned include
glacier monitoring, studies of greenhouse gasses and UV radiation, meteorological
observations and monitoring of bird colonies (what is thought to be
the largest colony on the icy continent is situated in Dronning Maud
Land). There are also plans for a satellite data station in co-operation
with the Norwegian Space Centre.
HRH Queen Sonja of Norway will open the station in February 2005, becoming
the first Norwegian royal to set foot on Antarctica.