U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Norway's extreme north to view areas impacted by climate change with melting ice and the opening of new sea lanes.

Kerry flew Thursday from the capital of Oslo to the small town of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle and was scheduled to visit Ny-Alesund, the northernmost civilian settlement in the world that is home to 15 Arctic research stations, as well as the Blomstrand Glacier, which has significantly receded in recent years.

Kerry has made the health of oceans and combating the effects of climate change a priority during his tenure as secretary of state and will host a third international conference on oceans in September.

After traveling to Denmark later Thursday, Kerry plans to visit icecaps in Greenland on Friday.