The Torne and Kalix rivers rise in the uppermost north west part of Sweden and their basins are situated between approximately 65°50N and 69°N as shown in Figure 1. The size basin of the two river basins is about 58 000 km2 of which 14 500 km2 (25%) is situated in Finlandand 350 km2 (0.6%) in Norway. The remaining, 43 150km2 , makes up 9.7% of the area of Sweden. Data presented in this paper originate from Swedish measurements. Finnish data ofsnow and evaporation from the east of the Torne River basin can be find in the Finnish Hydrological Yearbook (1994), which also includes some statistics for the period 1961-90.
The density of population is very low, about three people per square kilometre. People are mostly living in the river valleys near the coast, the towns of Haparanda, Torneo and Kalix, or in ore-mining centres like Kiruna.
Most of the basin can be characterised as a flat forest and mire area. The mountains in the north west part compose only 7-8 % of the total drainage basin. The runoff regime is thus characterised by a flow maximum produced by the snowmelt in the forest and swamp region. The mountains are very old. They were formed during the paleozoic era 300 000 000 years ago. As can be seen in Figure 3 at least 1/3 of the basin area is situated below 200masl and also about 1/3 above the 500m elevation line. Topography is further described in Figure 3.
As can be seen from Table I, the Torne River is number two and the Kalix River number 10 in drainage area order of the Swedish rivers. Due to dominating south-west winds and orographic effects, the Abisko region has a proportionately low precipitation. The specific runoff of the Torne River is thus lower then other Swedish rivers in this part of Sweden.