Satellite photos of damaged Svalbard seed vault released

Images have been released showing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which was reported last week to have been damaged by climate change, from space.

Earth observation company Deimos Imaging chose to release the seen-from-space images, captured by its satellite Deimos-2, after recent news that water from melting permafrost had entered the facility, which is situated deep inside a mountain on the remote Arctic Norwegian archipelago.

Dubbed the "doomsday" vault, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the largest of its kind and can store up to 2.5 billion seeds.

Reports emerged Saturday that a record warm summer and heavy rain at the end of winter had caused a flood in the vault’s entrance portal.

The first of the two images released by Deimos Imaging shows Svalbard’s airport, Longyear, at the top.

Located three kilometres northwest of the island's capital Longyearbyen, it is the northernmost airport in the world with public scheduled flights.

On the bottom left of the image, the satellite ground station SvalSat can be seen.

The SvalSat facility consists of 31 antennas, which provide ground services to more satellites than any other facility in the world, including Deimos Imaging.

Deimos-2, the satellite that captured the images, is operated 24 hours a day, with a network of four ground stations, including the one shown on the satellite images.

The second image shows a zoom of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

A Norwegian government spokeswoman told news agency AFP Saturday that the country would boost protection of the vault, which is designed to protect the world's crops from disaster.

Freezing temperatures inside the vault keep the seeds, sealed in packages and stored on shelves, usable for a long period of time. Permafrost and thick rock should guarantee the seeds are frozen and secured for centuries.

But in October 2016, the warmest year on record, melting permafrost caused water to leak about 15 metres into the entrance of a 100-metre tunnel inside the vault.

No damage was caused to the seeds and they remain safe inside the vault at the required storage temperature of -18°C (-4°F).

But the vault's managers are now constructing a waterproof wall inside for additional protection, said Hege Njaa Aschim, adding all heat sources would also be removed from inside the vault.

"We have to listen to climate experts (and) we are prepared to do anything to protect the seed vault," Aschim told AFP.

Archive imagery can be used to detect and assess changes over time, according to Deimos Imaging.

"Satellite imagery is a great tool to timely and cost-effectively monitor and measure the effects of climate change, disasters and extreme weather variations all over the world, providing a key tool for research on land cover and land management, which can be used to analyse and mitigate climate change," writes the company on its website.

The Svalbard vault was opened in 2008 with the aim to provide a "fail-safe seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters," according to the independent Global Crop Diversity Trust website.

Each country that deposits the seeds into the vault have control and access to their own material.

thelocal
climatechange Satellite damagedSvalbard
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Incidents
Ferde repays several million after toll scandal A technical error in the North Jæren toll system has led to many motorists being billed too much in the peak hours. Tens of millions will be repaid to the victims, and the peak hour fee is put on hold.   Motorists on North Jæren are furious about the toll station wall surrounding all urban hubs. Now it turns out that they have been overbilled for the peak hour fee. According to the Steering Group for the ”Urb...
Society
Nearly 8000 foreigners took the Norwegian test Nearly 8000 immigrants can have a well-deserved break after completing the last Norwegian examinations of the year. The test is becoming increasingly important.   – Norwegian language skills open the door to integration, education and jobs, says Director in Competence Norway, Gina Lund. The Norwegian test has gained an increasing role, and is, among other things, entry conditions for both residence permits and...
Society
Judgement day for Janne Jemtland’s husband The prosecutor wants the husband of Janne Jemtland behind bars for 18 years for the murder of his spouse. He, however, demands an acquittal. The sentencing is due on Monday morning.   At 10 am on Monday, District Court Judge, Trond Christoffersen, calls for order in court for the last time in the Janne Jemtland case. The Hedmark District Court will then provide an answer to the question that everyone asked before...
Society
The man charged with sending a bomb to the police in Ski has been in conflict with them for a long time. He denies having anything to do with the bomb.   When he was detained for four weeks on Saturday, the man appealed the decision on the spot. His lawyer, John Christian Elden, told VG newspaper that his client does not acknowledge having sent the package containing the bomb. “The basis for imprisonment is primarily the risk that there may have been other...
Society
In Norway, there are far more believers than in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, according to a new survey.   According to the study by the independent American think-tank Pew Research Center, 17 per cent of Norway’s citizens are strong believers. The same is true for 8 per cent of Danes, 10 per cent of Swedes and 13 per cent of Finns. In the survey, the degree of religiosity is measured in all the European countries. Romania is at the top with 55 per cent st...
Society
PST investigate threats against Minister of Justice, Wara The Special Branch (PST) investigates serious threats to Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara (Progress Party). His house and car have been tagged, and his car may have been attempted to be ignited.   – We have started investigating threats against Government officials this afternoon. We are in an initial phase of the investigation. There are aspects of the matter that make us look very seriously at it,...
Society
Norwegian Fisheries Directorate wants a ban on cod fishing in entire Oslofjord The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate proposed a ban on fishing for cod from Telemark to the Swedish border, which means that the entire Oslofjord will be subject to the ban.   The proposal is a follow-up after the Directorate issued a consultation proposal earlier this year. The reason for the proposal given was that measures must be taken because the state of the coastal and fjo...
Society
The Police House at Ski is evacuated because of a suspicious parcel in the public area.   The bomb squad is on the spot to investigate the object. It is uncertain whether the package has arrived via the mail or has been delivered at the reception. There is no danger to the area outside the police house, writes Dagbladet. The customer reception at the police house in Ski in Akershus is temporarily evacuated, writes the Eastern Police District on Twitter. –...
Society
Prime Minister Erna Solberg does not want to change abortion practice in Norway, but will remove “discriminatory element in the law”, according to Dagens Næringsliv. Solberg has been criticized for her willingness to negotiate changes in the Abortion Act, as she needs the support of Christian Democrats (KrF) for her bourgeois government. In an interview with the newspaper, Solberg says that women should still be able to use abortion right after 12 weeks if...