According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the month of July 2023 is almost certain to become the hottest month on record. According to these organisations, the average temperature for the first 23 days of July 2023 has been recorded at 16.95 degree Celsius, which is 0.32 degree Celsius higher than the average temperature of 16.63 degree Celsius for the entire month of July 2019, which was the hottest month so far.

On July 6, 2023, the Earth's average temperature was recorded at 17.08 degree Celsius, making it the hottest day ever. The average temperature on July 6 broke the record of 16.80 degree Celsius on August 13 of 2016, which was the hottest year ever.

Both July 5 and July 7 were above average temperatures which were only 0.01 degree Celsius lower than July 6. According to another report of the WMO, the average temperature of the Earth in the first and third weeks of July 2023 has exceeded the 1.5 degree Celsius limit specified in the Paris Climate Agreement from the average temperature of the pre-Industrial Revolution period.

The WMO has already warned through a report dated May 17 2023, about this kind of phenomenon. According to this report in the five years of 2023–27, there is a 98 percent chance that Earth's average temperature will at least once temporarily exceed the Pre-Industrial Revolution period average by 1.5 degree Celsius. There is also a 66 percent chance that one of these five years will be the world's hottest year.

Europe and the United States of America, which are known for their cold climate, are now under the grip of warmer temperatures every year. In 2021, states located on the western coast of the United States of America were hit by extreme heat and in 2022 many European countries were under the grip of hot temperatures.

This year, many countries in southern Europe were hit by heat waves in May itself. A red alert was issued in 15 Italian cities on July 17 due to high temperatures. On July 18, daytime temperature in Rome reached 42 degree Celsius, prompting Italy's health minister to ban afternoon visits to the Colosseum.

On July 25, the temperature in Palermo city of Sicily reached 47 degree Celsius. The Acropolis of Athens (Greece) also had to be closed to tourists for a few days due to high temperatures. The maximum temperature recorded on July 21 was 48.8 degree Celsius in Italy, 44.8 degree Celsius in Spain, 41 degree Celsius in Greece and 40.6 degree Celsius in France.

If the temperature of a place is above 40 degree Celsius then that place is considered as affected by heat waves. Temperatures above 40 degree Celsius also cause considerable damage to human health.

According to a report dated July 20, 2023 by NOAA , the month of June this year, has also been the hottest June on record. The Earth's temperature has been higher than average in the months from the beginning of this year (January to May).

In 2023 from Japan in the east to the United States of America in the west, several records were broken in June and July. In June, Tokyo, the capital of Japan, recorded a temperature of 35 degree Celsius for 5 consecutive days.

Another city in Japan, Isezaki, recorded a temperature of 40 degree Celsius in June, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in June. It has broken the record of the last 150 years. Rising temperatures are also affecting China this year, which is currently emitting more greenhouse gases than any other country in the world.

A small town in China, Sunbao, recorded a temperature of 52.2 degree Celsius on July 17. Beijing, the capital of China, suffered 27 consecutive days of 35 degree Celsius temperature, which broke the 23-year-old record.

It's winter in the Southern Hemisphere these days, but some areas in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay are recording above-average temperatures. According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the sea surface temperature in the first week of August was 20.96 degree Celsius, which has broken the record of 20.95 degree Celsius set in March 2016.

Usually the highest sea surface temperature of the year occurs in the month of March, but if the temperature is so high in August, it is likely to increase further in March. The sea surface temperature near Florida in the Gulf of Mexico was recorded at 38.44 degree Celsius in the last week of July. The rising temperature in this region has started since the middle of May.

According to the NOAA, the temperature of the sea surface near the Florida coast is usually between 23 and 31 degree Celsius. In addition to the Gulf of Mexico, higher sea surface temperatures have also been observed over the ocean adjacent to the United Kingdom, the North Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea.

Higher than average sea surface temperatures are a matter of serious concern for the entire humanity. In June, temperature over the ocean adjacent to the United Kingdom is 3 to 5 higher than average.

Many cities in the United States of America also observed record-breaking temperatures. In the city of Phoenix (Arizona State), the temperature remained above 43.33 degree Celsius for 31 consecutive days.

On July 16, in Death Valley, California state, the mercury soared to 53.5 degree Celsius, the highest day temperature ever, and the night temperature on the same day was 48.9 degree Celsius, indicating a dangerous trend. Usually the night temperature is much lower than the day temperature, which gives a lot of relief.

The rise in temperature in this year (2023) is also seen to be associated with the El-Nino process. El-Nino and La-Nina are two such phenomena that are associated with the average sea surface temperature of the Pacific ocean.

During the El-Nino phenomenon, the waters of the Pacific ocean become warmer than the average temperature, which leads to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth and also causes drought conditions in some countries. During a La- Niña phenomena, the effect is just the opposite.

Oceans play an important role in balancing the Earth's climate. It has the ability to absorb excessive heat and greenhouse gases from the environment. The weather in the coastal areas is generally mild.

Both land and sea water are warmed by the sun's heat during the day, but land warms faster than the sea. As the warm air from the surface of the Earth rises slowly, the cold air from the sea comes there, which cools the temperature of that area.

At night, the opposite process takes place. Through this process, the daily temperature of the coastal areas of the sea remains mild.

Along with the daily temperature, the oceans also affect the climate of the countries in the coastal areas of the oceans in different seasons through ocean currents. Now, due to human activities, the oceans are also warming rapidly, as a result of which their capacity to absorb heat and greenhouse gases has also decreased.

The El-Nino process is not the main reason for this year's high temperature rise.This climate phenomenon periodically raises temperature. According to scientists, the main reason for the increase in temperature this year is human activities, which is mentioned in the sixth report of IPCC.

It is also mentioned in a WMO report that one of the next five years (2023—2027) could be the hottest. The eight years from 2014 to 2022 have been the hottest years on record.

Humans are releasing enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment to satisfy their desires, which is causing a rapid increase in the average temperature of the Earth.

The most important of the greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide gas. The amount of carbon dioxide gas was only 280 parts per million before the time of the Industrial Revolution period, which increased to 419.4 parts per million on 31 July 2023.

This is 69.4 parts per million higher than NOAA's proposed safe limit (350 parts per million). The Earth's average temperature was also 1.22 degree Celsius higher in 2022 than it was before the time of the Industrial Revolution period.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "the era of global warming has ended” and “the era of global boiling has arrived. Climate change is here.

“It is terrifying and it is just the beginning, the consequences are clear and tragic: children swept away by monsoon rains, families running from flames and workers collapsing in scorching heat. Although climate change is evident,we can still stop the worst. But to do so we must turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambitions.

“No more hesitancy or excuses. No more green washing. No more deceptions and no more abusive distortion of anti-trust laws to sabotage net zero alliances.

“Climate change is upon us which is showing a very scary aspect. Man himself is responsible for this frightening and natural calamity-ridden environment. Now all the countries should take immediate steps without delay."

Regarding the rapid increase in temperature in June and July this year, James Hansen, a NASA climate scientist, addressing the entire human population, said that we are all too foolish to ignore the timely warnings of scientists.

We are headed for a period of temperature increase that man has never seen before in 10,000,000 years. It is the nature of man that he does not believe in something until he tastes it. As early as the 1980s, Hansen had warned the world that increasing emissions of greenhouse gases would push the Earth toward extremely hot temperatures.

In 1988, he also raised this issue in the United States Senate which was rejected. Hansen also said that either we (scientists) have been unable to explain the negative effects of greenhouse gases on the environment or we have not elected leaders who are capable of solving the issue.

According to scientists, the average temperature of the Earth has crossed the set limit of 1.5 degree Celsius twice in the month of July 2023. This increase in temperature has made all the countries of the world uncomfortable.

Now it is a matter of serious concern that if the average temperature of the Earth increases forever by 1.5 degree Celsius than the temperature before the Industrial Revolution period, then what will happen to all kinds of organisms living on the Earth including humans.

An increase in the Earth's average temperature also increases the incidents of droughts and wildfires. In the month of June this year, there was a terrible fire in the forests of Canada, due to which 13 million hectares of forest were burnt to ashes and emitted about 290 megatons of carbon in the environment.

Spain, Italy, and Greece have also seen several incidents of wildfires due to rising temperatures. Carbon emissions from wildfires are warming the environment.

All the countries of the world should live in harmony with nature to avoid the natural calamities caused by the increasing temperature. At the Conference of the Parties-28 this year, all the countries of the world should heed the warnings of scientists and set carbon emission targets instead of procrastinating.

The developed countries had this delusion that they will save their people and countries from natural disasters through their advanced technology, but the immense increase in temperature has left these countries scorched.

In the sixth report of IPCC, scientists have suggested reducing the use of private vehicles and prioritising and improving public transport to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All the countries of the world should make efforts like the European countries to implement this suggestion.

China and the United States of America should reduce carbon emissions the most because both countries China (30.7 percent ) and the United States of America (14.0 percent) release 44.7 percent of total carbon emissions into the environment. China, the United States of America, and India are using large amounts of coal today to generate energy.

These countries should replace coal with renewable energy sources. Ignoring the warnings of scientists and the promises made in conferences, keeping the economic growth in mind, many countries of the world are still emitting large amounts of carbon into the environment, which threatens the lives of every citizen of the world.

Considering the increasing number of natural disasters and the depth of their impact, as a result of the increasing temperature all the countries of the world should understand that the economic growth of any country should be for the citizens of the country. What will be the use of that process of economic growth if the offering of which will result in starvation and deaths of many people.

The wars in different countries of the world are also releasing a huge amount of dangerous gases in the environment these days which has become one of the reasons for the rise in temperature. A large amount of explosives are used in these wars.

Therefore, all the countries should find a solution and stop the wars. Along with the country, it is the duty of every citizen to change their lifestyle (eating and living habits) so that the emission of greenhouse gases can be reduced in every way.

The world is going through a time of serious crisis. So governments as well as every individual should do their duty to stop the rise in temperature.

DR. GURINDER KAUR is a former professor, Department of Geography, Punjabi University, Patiala. views expressed are the writer’s own.