Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean is one of the places with the fastest temperature rise in the world. Permafrost on the islands is melting at a record rate, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute said.
The thaw, which is also being felt in other regions of the Arctic, is causing major changes in the landscape.
"I am concerned about the fact that the permafrost is warming and thawing at an increasingly rapid pace," Ketil Isaksen, a climate researcher for the Meteorological Institute, said.
For the last 25 years, scientists have been carefully observing the processes occurring in the permafrost in Svalbard. In areas with permafrost, the top layer of soil (active layer) has begun to thaw much more actively each summer.
"The high ground surface temperatures since mid-June have set new records this year. We have never before measured such high values in the upper parts of the ground and such a large thickness of the active layer," says Isaksen, noting that thawing is already occurring at a depth of 1-2 meters.