It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to guard the worldâ€™s most treasured seeds from any world disaster and guarantee humanityâ€™s food supply endlessly. But the global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel. The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and incorporates almost a million packets of seeds, each quite a lot of an vital meals crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost by means of which the vault was sunk was expected to supply â€œfailsafeâ€ protection in opposition to â€œthe problem of natural or man-made disastersâ€. But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the worldâ€™s hottest ever recorded yr led to melting and heavy rain, when mild snow ought to have been falling. â€œIt was not in our plans to think that the permafrost wouldn’t be there and that it could experience excessive weather like that,â€ mentioned Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian authorities, which owns the vault.
â€œA lot of water went into the beginning of the tunnel after which it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier while you went in,â€ she instructed the Guardian. Fortunately, the meltwater did not attain the vault itself, the ice has been hacked out, and the valuable seeds remain safe for now at the required storage temperature of -18C. But the breach has questioned the flexibility of the vault to survive as a lifeline for humanity if catastrophe strikes. 24 hours a day,â€ Aschim stated. The vaultâ€™s managers are now ready to see if the extreme heat of this winter was a one-off or might be repeated or even exceeded as local weather change heats the planet. The top of 2016 saw average temperatures over 7C above normal on Spitsbergen, pushing the permafrost above melting point. â€œThe question is whether this is simply occurring now, or will it escalate?