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'We Can't Trust the Permafrost Anymore': Doomsday Vault at Risk in Norway

'We Can't Trust the Permafrost Anymore': Doomsday Vault at Risk in Norway

Eoin Higgins, staff writer

Just over a decade after it first opened, the world's "doomsday vault" of seeds is imperiled by climate change as the polar region where it's located warms faster than any other area on the planet.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which opened in late February 2008, was built by the organization Crop Trust and the Norwegian government on the island of Svalbard next to the northernmost town in the world with more than 1,000 residents, Longyearbyen.

Don’t worry, be happy, because humans know and understand how to handle risk and anyway who ever heard of a Black Swan. And geo-engineering, or AGI or deep neural networks or good old know-how or helps of prayers will fix all our messes because, because…


That vault is supposed to be “everything” proof. There go our seeds unless a new one is built. But maybe there won’t be anyone left to plant them.


Norway is experiencing some pretty strange weather:


But then so are the himalayas:


There is nowhere to hide from the systemic disease we have inflicted upon our planet.


They were warned about this before construction began, but the researchers in question were considered too radical and alarmist. After all, some of them regularly spoke out about geoengineering which every sane person “knows” is just a fairytale, because the US government said so.


“The failure of this facility demonstrates that we should place no faith in scientists or engineers or their crazy alarmist predictions about global warming,” said Donald Trump, who then boarded a plane where he received an alert on his smartphone to take his life-saving medicine, none of which were developed by scientists or engineers.

Later, he was heard to remark “Turn on the AC in here, dammit, it’s getting hot.”


I have a device for this issue. Wind-powered artificial snow making machines coat the ground around the vault with snow, especially in late spring and in early fall, but sometimes in summer too. This changes the ground’s albedo, and then the ground doesn’t absorb the sun’s heat and it stays colder. The goal is for it to remain as permafrost year-round. A bit of insulation around the vault might help too.

If this works on a tiny scale, people would ask, why not change the ground’s albedo back to normal for the entire Arctic region? We could prevent a catastrophic Arctic-wide permafrost meltdown, which would be good.

As usual, I"m ignoring the guy who is paid by fossil fuel’s ad agency to post here. Gross!


Simple. Just use coal and oil industry fuel to cool it off.

It is not ironic at all, it is hubris pure and simple. Truth is that the whole concept is a joke. If we ever got to a point where we needed to go to this vault for seed the biosphere would most likely be in total collapse as we are just now beginning to see happening.

Agreed. And are there many of us who would even know how to get there. Or know that it even exists.

Artificial General Intelligence. They want to create AI that will be autonomous and smarter than humans, ‘conscious.’ I doubt they’ll succeed but I have no doubt they’ll destroy everything good along the way. Their quest has all the facts and fervour of religious fanaticism.

In a climate collapsed world…Wingsofadove, you are correct that nobody would remember that it was there. As it is, most people alive now have never heard of it.

The thought of putting it on an island that far north would hopefully keep the starving hordes from eating the seeds in desperation but who will have boats to get there (if there were anybody left above hunter-gatherer knife & spear level of existence? No motors by then, no fossil fuel left to power one I would assume even if they knew about it.

I do understand why it was located so far north, though. Anything even close to the Equator is going to be uninhabitable so what would be the point of building it in the death zone? Reading the science I had my doubts about it being in so-called Permafrost but, until I saw these pictures, I had no idea that it was placed essentially on the freaking beach!!!

My immediate thought was; are you kidding me? The glaciers are melting, Greenland is melting, Antarctica is melting, thermal expansion of the ocean…so why would anybody be dumb enough to put something like this at an elevation that will drown the building under who-knows-how-many hundreds of feet of ocean? The beach and ocean is right there in the third (the tweet) picture!!

The entire project seems to be an essentially useless exercise other than as a ‘feel good’ action. I applaud the effort, though. At least they tried, yes?


Given that our species will be extinct soon, there’s no point in worrying about this!

Oh yes they tried. But of course that was 11 years ago. The ice is melting pretty fast now.

Thanks, Paul: Good idea but I think it might take millions of snow machines. I think sulfur in the stratosphere might have a better chance of reflecting sunlight. But a lot more research and testing is needed asap! If the earth becomes toast, sadly, we won’t need any more seeds. Massive amounts of Methane release is the main problem, not just CO2. (See Clathrates). To prevent environmental collapse we would need max enforcement of all known methods of ending greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, this seems unlikely because most would rather go shopping, traveling and fighting until it is almost too late.