Norway will make critical improvements to the Global Seed Vault located on Svalbard Island in the Arctic. Melting permafrost in an unusual Arctic summer caused water to enter the front section of the vault. No stored seeds were damaged though safeguards will be taken to prevent future incidents of risk.
The storage facility lies predominantly inside a mountain with consistent cool temperatures ideal for preserving seeds from around the world.
Ironically the protected storage facility stores seeds in case a country sustains a disaster of some sort that necessitates replanting of key vegetation and plants. Nobody anticipated that the facility would have its own near – disaster. Water from melting permafrost seeped into the entry tunnel though never made it further into the storage area.
Plans to waterproof the walls as well as install drainage ditches outside the vault entrance are underway to ensure the precious seeds are safe. Scientists describe the vault as the most important room in the world.
When the vault was constructed, the idea of permafrost melting this far north was unheard of. In a short period of time we have seen climate changes of an extreme measure. Last October temperatures rose from a normal of -10C to around 0 C…causing meltwater to appear.
Statsbygg, the agency that administers the vault, are committed to conduct research to monitor the permafrost on Svalbard and the surrounding Arctic.
The vault stores seeds from nearly 5,000 crop species from all over the planet. The dried and frozen specimens can be preserved for hundreds of years in the vault. Most countries on Earth have their own emergency supply of seeds though they also store back-ups at the Global Seed Vault.