Satellite images are revealing how the landscape of Banks Island in the frozen north of Canada is being reshaped by land slumps triggered by global warming. The number of slumps, which normally start with landslides that then continue to move much more slowly over a period of years, has rapidly increased from 63 in 1984 to more than 4000 in 2013.
“It is clear that something really dramatic is happening,” says Antoni Lewkowicz of the University of Ottawa in Canada.
The local Inuvialuit people say it is becoming harder to move around the island, and they can no longer drink from many streams because they are full of mud. “If any of us had the equivalent of our backyard being eaten up and turned into a mudpit, I think we’d all be quite upset about it,” says Lewkowicz .