$4.4 Million Is Being Spent to Protect the Global Seed Vault From Global Warming

$4.4 Million Is Being Spent to Protect the Global Seed Vault From Global Warming

 Crop Trust

WRITTEN BY Tom Ward

IN BRIEF

A melting permafrost caused by global warming has raised concerns over the security of the global seed vault. To ensure its integrity, the Norwegian government has pledge to spend $4.4 million on improvements to the structure.

The Global Seed Vault was designed as a back-up plan for humanity in the case of an apocalyptic event. The seeds in its collection would allow future societies to maintain the planet’s botanical diversity while covering the spectrum of nutrition in case no other sources of food were available. 50,000 more seeds were recently added to the collection, but now, climate change is threatening the world’s Plan B.

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The vault, which is owned by the Norwegian government, was designed to function in a permafrost. However, global warming made 2016 the hottest year on record, and melting permafrost due to the rising temperatures caused water to flood the entrance to the enormous vault, undermining its “failsafe” status.

In response, the Norwegian government has pledged to spend $4.4 million to upgrade the vault. The first $1.6 million will got toward investigating the problem and potential solutions, efforts that will be spearheaded by consultancy firm Dr. Techn. Olav Olsen.

Located in the arctic circle, The Global Seed Vault isn't simply just a large storage facility for seeds from around the world. The vault is protecting the world's agricultural genetic diversity and protecting our future food supply in case of catastrophe.

Current suggestions for future improvements include building an entrance tunnel that slopes upward toward the seed vault to drain water away. For now, the government is attempting to improve the situation by relocating a heat-emitting transformer station inside of the tunnel to decrease thaw, and plans are in place to dig drainage ditches around the complex and build a waterproof wall within it as well.

The silver lining of the situation is that these concerns have arisen at a time when there is still sufficient human infrastructure to repair and plan. Running into these problems post-global disaster would no doubt be much more troubling.

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