The recent rise in temperatures has followed warnings from scientists and climate experts about global warming on the planet. This increase coincided with record temperatures in countries like Greece and Canada, where serious forest fires broke out.
In India, the world’s most populous country, authorities reported that August marked the hottest and driest month in national records spanning more than a century. This occurred at the height of the annual monsoon season, which generally contributes 80% of the country’s annual rainfall. However, the monsoon rains were considerably less intense than usual, with a deficit of 30.1 mm compared to the record low recorded in August 2005.
This rainfall deficit triggered intense heat in India, with average and maximum temperatures in August 2023 considered to be the highest since 1901. Weak monsoons and a lack of rain were cited as the main reasons for this situation by the Department of Indian Meteorology.
Japan also recorded its hottest summer since temperature records began in 1898, with average temperatures breaking records in various regions of the country. Australia was not far behind, experiencing its warmest southern winter on record, with the average temperature between June and August slightly above the previous record set in 1996.
These extreme weather events add to a global trend of rising temperatures due to climate change. Scientists have long warned that global warming leads to more intense, prolonged, and frequent heat waves. In addition, the El Niño phenomenon, which is getting warmer, could contribute to a further increase in temperatures.
Heat waves are dangerous and deadly, often resulting in high numbers of deaths from heat stroke. Children, the elderly, and those who work outdoors are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of extreme heat. Science has warned that these extreme events will continue to increase in intensity and frequency if action is not taken to address climate change.