The Global Seed Vault, designed to preserve the world’s agriculture in the case of a ‘doomsday’ scenario, has been breached by meltwater from Arctic permafrost.
The vault is situated on the island of Spitsbergen, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, and opened nearly a decade ago.
It was intended to withstand global catastrophe – but, unusually warm winter temperatures this year sent unexpected amounts of meltwater pouring into the entrance tunnel, according to the Guardian.
While the flooding didn’t reach the vault itself – meaning the seeds are so far unharmed – the breach has caused experts to question how climate change will affect the stronghold’s long-term survival.
The facility was designed to be self-sustaining, meaning no human intervention, but it’s now being monitored around the clock, officials told the Guardian.
Just months ago, the doomsday seed vault expanded its collection, with fifty thousand seed samples donated from all over the world to be kept safe until they are needed.
It now houses nearly one million samples and is the world's biggest collection of agricultural biodiversity.
But, warming global temperatures are proving to be an unforeseen adversary.