Scientists say the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard has seen such extreme warmth this year that the average annual temperature could end up above freezing for the first time on record.

Ketil Isaksen of the Norwegian Meterological Institute said Friday the average temperature in Longyearbyen, the main settlement in Svalbard, is expected to be around 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) with a little over a month left of the year.

Isaksen called the abnormal warmth "shocking" and beyond anything he could have imagined 10 years ago. The normal yearly average is minus 6.7 C (20 F).

He added that each of the past 73 months has been warmer than average.