Canadian Banks Island, Affected By Global Warming, Experiences Numerous Landslides

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As the global temperature continues to grow, new problems will appear. Canadian Banks Island has been affected by a large number of landslides. In just a few decades the number of landslides has increased by 600% percent due to global warming. The alternation between hot summers and the weakening permafrost has accentuated the problem. As the Arctic areas continue to become hotter, the landslides will become more often.

The data comes from a team of researchers who conducted a recent study. The researchers employed satellite imagery provided by the Google Earth Engine. The information used in the research includes a collection of 32 years of satellite data. The results are quite grim since Arctic warming doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

One of the lead researchers mentioned during an interview that the specific timeframe was significant for him. He studied the Banks Island in 1984, and the new study offered him a chance to explore the setting with a meaningful motivation in mind.

Global Warming triggered numerous landslides on Canadian Banks Island

Google’s Earth Engine offers images that were collected with the help of Landsat and Sentinel satellites. By looking at a time lapse, people can observe how the landscape has evolved as time passed. By using these images, the researchers were able to notice retrogressive thaw slumps, a term used for the phenomenon which occurs when permafrost begins to thaw.

As the permafrost cliffs begin to degrade landslides will start to appear, and they often last for a few decades. In some cases they can stretch up to a mile, transforming the landscape into a desolate wasteland.

These events can be observed easily with the help of satellites as the mudflows will have a distinctive color due to the sediments which can be found in them. From 63 active landslide areas in 1984, the number rose to more than 4,100 active ones in 2013. The increasing number of landslides makes life harder for the native community since they are no longer able to access parts of the island.


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