Flooding brought on by climate change has now hit on theGlobal Roast Vault, which retains samples of their planet’s seeds in the event of an apocalyptic disaster.
The seeds weren’t damaged, however, the entryway of the vault flooded when neighboring permafrost melted. Engineers are currently designing strategies to shore up protections at the storage facility.
The vault was called the “Noah’s Ark” of seeds and also a last opportunity for the world to regenerate if the worst occurs. Built into a hillside in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, it had been founded in 2008 as a fail-safe refuge for food sources and shops packets of frozen and dried seeds from around the world that can last centuries.
Officials picked the location because they believed the permafrost there was permanent. But in a worrying sign that world-threatening shift might be inescapable anywhere on Earth, the permafrost melted for the first time in recorded history.
The melting happened during the current extraordinarily warm Arctic winter however, since the centre was designed to require little observation and is unstaffed, officials simply found it. Now the Norwegian government, which possesses the vault, also Statsbygg, the agency which runs the centre, will carefully monitor it for threats from climate change.
“It was not in our strategies to think the permafrost would not be there and it would encounter extreme weather like that,” Statsbygg spokeswoman Hege Njaa Aschim told The Guardian. “It was supposed to function without the assistance of people, but now we’re seeing the seed vault 24 hours a day.”
Employees used pumps to remove the standing water along with will waterproof walls and build drainage ditches to deal with runoff from melting permafrost.
Statsbygg is currently additionally tasked with tracking the state of the permafrost on Svalbard.
CORRECTION:An earlier version of this article’s headline said the vault was in Antarctica. It’s in the Arctic.
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