Global seed vault floods after permafrost melts

Signal of change / Global seed vault floods after permafrost melts

By Sam Zak / 15 Oct 2018

In 2017, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle of Norway flooded due to melting permafrost. This has been attributed to higher than average temperatures in the winter during one of the hottest years on record. Floodwater gushed into the entrance tunnel but no seeds were damaged. Following the flooding the vault has now been retrofitted to be protected against floodwater.

So what?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault contains over a million packets of seeds and is meant to act as a failsafe means of protecting crop diversity in the event of natural or man-made disasters. It opened in 2008 and was originally chosen to be deep in the Arctic surrounded by permafrost so that it could operate independently but now requires 24 hour surveillance.

Was this carelessness or a lack of foresight on the part of the vault’s original designers or does this further show that the impacts of global warming are coming quicker and more severely than feared?


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

Please register or log in to comment.

#signalofchange spotted by