The site of the so-called Doomsday Vault is at threat from climate change
Svalbard Global Seed Vault was designed to safeguard millions of the world’s most genetically important seeds from nuclear war and other disasters.
The seed ark is embedded deep in the permafrost of a Norwegian island and stores millions of samples from around the world for safekeeping in the event of war, famine, and disease. It is supposed to be indestructible, the frigid landscape serving as a natural coolant for the genetic material.
But according to Sky News, Longyearbyen, the Arctic home of the seed vault is facing potentially devastating avalanches, rockfalls, and floods over the coming decades as it is warming faster than any other town on Earth.
The rising temperatures in recent years have already partially melted the permafrost on which the facility’s access tunnel is built, flooding it with water.
According to The Washington Post, the average temperature in the town will increase by a further 8.3 degrees in just a century, further threatening the seed vault.
When the seed vault was opened in 2008, Norway’s Svalbard archipelago was judged the safest place on earth to hold the most important seeds due to its far-flung location and its low mean temperatures.
Since it opened, more than a million seeds from 6,500 different species have been deposited in its vault.