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Copenhagen’s flooded biobank is a wake-up call for Northern Europe

The Monsoon-like downpour that destroyed tissue samples used for cancer research at a Copenhagen biobank earlier this month is a reminder of the threat such facilities face from climate change. On 2 July, the city’s average rainfall for two months fell in around two hours, leaving hundreds of important public institutions damaged and crippling the city’s public transport system.

The rains flooded the cellars of the Danish Cancer Society’s biobank, home to freezers that preserve millions of tissue samples and around a hundred live cell lines at minus 130°C. The water in the cellars rose to 1.5 metres in around half an hour, drowning the nitrogen freezers and raising their temperatures to around 0°C.

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