Break the Bank: The Doomsday Vault Meets Global Warming

The Svalbard Seed Bank

The “Doomsday Vault,” more humbly known as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, recently cached its millionth seed:

The Estonian onion potato, black-eyed peas, Bambara groundnuts, and Hunter barley used to brew Irish beer are among the 70,000 deposits made today at Svalbard. That brings the total number of seeds deposited at the facility to a whopping 1,059,646, according to the BBC.

The defensive facility is meant to preserve the genetic material of the world’s collective flora against the buffeting tide of climate change. But what if the onslaught comes to its doorstep?

Even though it’s located in the Arctic Circle, Svalbard’s temperature is expected to increase from an average 21 degrees F (-5.9 C) to 38 degrees F (3.3 C), and rainfall is expected to increase by 40 percent, by the year 2100. Ironically, the facility designed to safeguard seeds in the event of climate change is being threatened by climate change.

The Norwegian government is currently rustling up about $13 million to shore up the ark.