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Fri May 19, 2017, 03:31 PM

Arctic stronghold of worlds seeds flooded after permafrost melts

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

“A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in,” she told the Guardian. Fortunately, the meltwater did not reach the vault itself, the ice has been hacked out, and the precious seeds remain safe for now at the required storage temperature of -18C.

But the breach has questioned the ability of the vault to survive as a lifeline for humanity if catastrophe strikes. “It was supposed to (operate) without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day,” Aschim said. “We must see what we can do to minimise all the risks and make sure the seed bank can take care of itself.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/19/arctic-stronghold-of-worlds-seeds-flooded-after-permafrost-melts

Svalbard weather stats for the past year: https://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Svalbard/Longyearbyen/statistics.html

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Reply Arctic stronghold of worlds seeds flooded after permafrost melts (Original post)
muriel_volestrangler May 19 OP
OKIsItJustMe May 19 #1
hatrack May 19 #2
OKIsItJustMe May 19 #3

Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Fri May 19, 2017, 03:52 PM

1. Oh Joy!

More impermafrost!

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #1)

Fri May 19, 2017, 04:29 PM

2. Tempofrost?

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Response to hatrack (Reply #2)

Fri May 19, 2017, 04:56 PM

3. Frost

Sigh…

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