‘Doomsday’ seed vault flooded by climate change ice melt
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Norway on Saturday said it would boost protection of a seed storage vault designed to protect the world’s crops from disaster, after soaring temperatures caused water to leak into its entrance.
Situated deep inside a mountain on a remote Arctic island in a Norwegian archipelago, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, dubbed the “doomsday” vault, is the largest of its kind and can store up to 2.5 billion seeds.
Freezing temperatures inside the vault keep the seeds, sealed in packages and stored on shelves, usable for a long period of time. Permafrost and thick rock should guarantee the seeds are frozen and secured for centuries.
But in October 2016, the warmest year on record, melting permafrost caused water to leak about 15 meters (49 feet) into the entrance of a 100-meter tunnel inside the vault.