Permafrost Melt Threatened Svalbard Seed Vault
Tension rose when water from melting permafrost made its way into the Svalbard seed vault - the facility in the Arctic that stores the world’s largest seed collection.
Buried on the side of an ice mountain in Svalbard - a four-hour flight north of Oslo, the facility houses the world’s diversity of crop seeds as a safety net securing the future of global agriculture against possible catastrophes.
Tim Fischer, former deputy prime minister and vice chair of the Crop Trust, the organization that supports the vault, said that there has been no damage to any of the seeds stored at the site and that the water that breached the facility was immediately pumped out by pumps running around the clock.
The vault has multiple backup systems in place as well as internal doors that have had remedial work completed after a record warm winter temperatures caused a melting of the surrounding ice. However, additional measures are being planned to provide extra layers of security.