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#229785 - 02/09/07 05:29 PM Preparing "Noah's Ark"  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,288
tacogirl Offline
tacogirl  Offline
Work starts on Arctic seed vault

POSTED: 10:21 a.m. EST, February 9, 2007

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Deep inside the Arctic Circle work is about to begin on a giant frozen Noah's Ark for food crops to provide a last bastion in the battle against global warming.

And within a year the first seeds of what will eventually be home for samples of all 1.5 million distinct varieties of agricultural crops worldwide will be tucked safely inside the vaults deep in a mountain on the archipelago of Svalbard. There, at the end of a tunnel 120 meters into the side of a mountain, 80 meters above estimated sea levels even if all polar ice melts, and 18 degrees Celsius below freezing, they will stay like a bank security deposit.

"It will be the best freezer in the world by several orders of magnitude. The seeds will be safe there for decades," said Cary Fowler of the Food and Agricultural Organization's Global Crop Diversity Trust. "Svalbard is a safety backup -- and we hope we never have to use it." The Norwegian government is footing the $5 million construction bill and the Global Crop Diversity Trust is providing the estimated $125,000 a year running costs.

"We are going back to the older varieties because that is where you find the largest genetic diversity ... and diversity is protection," Fowler told Reuters in London. Svalbard will not find and sort the seeds. That is being left to the various seed banks around the world in the front line of the battle to protect biodiversity.

The function of the Arctic Noah's Ark will be to hold samples of all the food crop varieties in case disaster strikes any of the banks -- like the typhoon that wiped out the Philippines agri crop gene bank in October. It will also ensure a pristine source of research material for the world's botanists struggling to create crop varieties that will be able to withstand the massive changes in rainfall patterns and temperature that may come with global warming.

The scientists from around the world predict that global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to human activities, putting millions at risk from rising sea levels, floods, famines and storms. "Current crops are adapted to the current climate. Start changing that and you change everything, plant breeders will have to be designing totally new varieties." "We already have a water crisis with agriculture and climate change will make it worse. It is not a simply matter of migrating crops northwards. Everything changes -- sunlight, temperature, insects, diseases, pollinators," he added.

He said the Svalbard seed collection would not include modern hybrid varieties because by and large they had genetic diversity bred out of them. But it would also not rule out genetically modified organisms on the simple grounds that it would be virtually impossible to screen them out and in any case they would never amount to more than a tiny fraction of the total. The vaults on the remote archipelago 1,500 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle should have been dug and lined with meter-thick concrete by October ready for systems installation and a formal opening early in 2008.

Within two years they should be holding the vast majority of the world's food crop varieties in splendid, frozen and permanent isolation.

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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#229808 - 02/09/07 11:23 PM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: tacogirl]  

can anyone spell Environmentalist Wackos! :-(
(Maybe they can get algore to stand guard)
think their copyright is safe. :-)

#229809 - 02/09/07 11:32 PM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: tacogirl]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,459
SimonB Offline
SimonB  Offline
Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Ahem, you just did!!

Let's face it; our children (and mine should I ever get around to it) are going to have to deal with it. As a species we will have to learn to adapt or we will go the way of the dinosaurs (all be it a lot quicker in the scheme of things.) As I sit here with the lights on and the fan running and the fridges and freezers on and driving around in a gas cart I'm contributing to the problem as much as the next person.

A hundred years ago they could never comprehend where we are now and a hundred years from now they will look back and say what the hell were we thinking. The great thing about the human species is that we have the intelligence, we may not be quick to respond but we can adapt and make change. Itís all a matter of being willing to sacrifice the (I hate to say it) American Dream and start thinking about the consequences of our actions and start thinking about what our action or inaction will mean to future generations.

My rant for the day...

#229812 - 02/09/07 11:39 PM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: SimonB]  

Next time down Simon, I'll expect to see you delivering by hand pulled cart. After all we're coming by sailboat!

Special tribute for Cary Fowler and the Norwegian gov't.

Last edited by Rykat; 02/09/07 11:53 PM.
#229861 - 02/11/07 12:30 AM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: ]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 520
Don Greife Offline
Don Greife  Offline
Kinda makes some of us wonder just how much of Ambergris Caye is more than twenty feet above sea level "today".

I'll be happy to discuss my avatar with anyone who knows what it is.
#229864 - 02/11/07 12:42 AM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: Don Greife]  

I'm just back from Europe where I spoke to some academics who work in this area. The time range they all accept now is that at some point between 20 and 100 years from now sea levels will have risen 7 metres, around 23 feet. Several of them thought this would happen by the earlier part of the date range. Many people who are already adults will see it happen, and children already born may see a much larger increase.

Of course scientists have got things wrong before, but I didn't find anyone who disagreed with the above broad range.

Just think what a rise in sea levels of 7 metres will mean for any country with a coastline.

#229906 - 02/11/07 01:54 PM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: ]  

Scientists tend to be a bit like flies, they all migrate to the same pile of sh**.
There is plenty of disagreement in the scientific community and especially amongst meteorologists but here in the States since the major news channels have accepted "man-caused global warming" as fact are we all supposed to assume it as so? I think NOT. JMHO

#229953 - 02/11/07 09:10 PM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: ]  

The general concensus now is that mankind has greatly influenced GW even if they didn't cause it originally. But that's now irrelevant - it's happening who/whatever caused it.

#229965 - 02/11/07 10:33 PM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: ]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 97
OESGwynedd Offline
OESGwynedd  Offline
yeah, and the global warming? Tell that to the 3 feet of snow in my yard since Christmas day!

#229975 - 02/12/07 12:05 AM Re: Preparing "Noah's Ark" [Re: OESGwynedd]  

A little proof, happening and cause p2, would go a long way. Plenty to read, lots of conjecture, lots of BS, lots of outright lies. Show me the money - I'll believe it - until then it's pure Oscar Mayer! ;-)

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