Svalbard's "Doomsday Vault" at 10

Monday 26 February 2018 marked the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Run by the non-profit Crop Trust based in Berlin, and majority funded by the Norwegian government (along with private donations), the purpose of the Vault is to preserve food crop seeds from around the world. It acts as a backup to other seed banks around the globe (thus the nickname "Doomsday Vault"), working to ensure that problems from natural or man-made disasters won't be able to cause crops to go extinct. Whether by global warming writ large, a growing hungry world population, or wars such as in Syria, the biodiversity of our planet is under pressure. The Vault stores the world's largest collection of crop biodiversity to ensure that the mankind can maintain the variety nature has provided such that solutions to future challenges can be found.

On the 10th anniversary, a great deal has been written about the Vault. Some particularly useful pieces include:

Svalbard itself is experiencing climate change on a massive scale. There have now been over 7 straight years of every monthly temperature being above normal. Indeed, just a few days ago we had above freezing temperatures and heavy rain. This is February in a location just 1300 kilometres from the North Pole in the dead of winter when the temperature should be -16°C. The North Pole itself was above freezing.

While colder air (though still above normal) has returned, and while the Vault's storage location is safely buried more than 100 metres deep into the permafrost, Svalbard itself is showing the vital importance of the Vault.