A LAST-RESORT Doomsday Vault tasked with saving humanity’s food from extinction is under threat from climate change.
The icy Norwegian island where the Global Seed Vault is housed is warming faster than any anywhere else on Earth, according to a shock new study.
Getty – Contributor The Svalbard ‘Doomsday Vault’ aims to preserve the world’s crop species in case disaster strikes humanity
Situated deep inside a mountain on the remote archipelago, the cellar is the largest of its kind and has enough space for 2.5billion seeds.
It’s designed to preserve all of Earth’s crop seeds in the event of a devastating disease outbreak or all-out nuclear war.
Freezing temperatures inside the vault mean the shelves should remain usable for centuries to come.
But scientists warned this week that temperatures on Svalbard could jump 10C by 2100 – with potentially disastrous consequences for the million seed samples within.
Getty – Contributor Around a million seed samples are stored in the vault
“Svalbard is the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” Marie Haga, the executive director of the Crop Trust, which helped built the vault, told CNN.
The Crop Trust joined forces with the Norwegian government to build the Global Seed Vault on the small island of Svalbard in 2008.
The remote spot was picked for its stability and year-round freezing conditions.
But a new report reveals that temperatures have risen faster in Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, than anywhere else on Earth over the past century.
It had an average temperature of -7.8C in 1900, but since then it has risen by 3.7C, more than three times the global average.
Unusually warm temperatures have already begun to threaten the vault.
Back in 2017, the facility’s entrance tunnel was hit by sudden flooding as a result of thawing permafrost.
As global warming tightens its grip on the planet, the very foundation the vault is built on could begin to crumble, scientists warned in the Climate in Svalbard 2100 report.
AP:Associated Press The island where the vault is stored is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet
Professor Inger Hanssen-Bauer, a senior author on the paper, says accelerated Arctic warming is to blame.
Rising temperatures have stripped snow and ice coverage in the region.
This, in turn, means less sunlight is reflected back into the atmosphere, meaning more heat is absorbed into exposed soil and rock.
Scientists said their work highlights the need to fight climate change if Arctic regions like Svalbard are to survive.
The Global Seed Vault is housed on the remote Norwegian island of Svalbard
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