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India's scientists say more heat waves are coming, and they blame global warming

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Posted at 12:59 PM, May 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-28 12:59:52-04

No matter what it’s called — global warming or climate change — the theory that human behavior is responsible for rising temperatures on Earth is still kindling for a debate.

Researchers from one of India’s leading non-profit think tanks are blaming the country’s deadly heat wave on global warming, while also warning that more extreme temperatures are on the way.

On Thursday, scientists from the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment concluded, “more heat waves [are] expected as globally, temperatures [have] risen by an average .8 degrees in the past 100 years,” a release read. “Climate records show that human-induced global warming had turned 2014 into the hottest year on record.”

This month’s heat wave has resulted in nearly 1,500 deaths, according to The Guardian. Temperatures in some parts of India have reported reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not everyone would agree with the theory presented by CSE researchers, however. Last week, United States presidential candidate Jeb Bush said climate change science is “convoluted” and called people who refuse to hear another argument “arogant.”

What’s not up for debate is the deadly nature of the extreme temperatures being felt by people in India this week. A picture of a melted road in New Delhi, taken by European Pressphoto Agency photographer Harish Tiyagi, has been making the rounds on social media.

In 2013, a leading expert on road surfaces told the BBC that heavily-trafficked roads will start to soften when they reach about 122 degrees Fahrenheit. "Asphalt is like chocolate — it melts and softens when it's hot, and goes hard and brittle when it's cold— it doesn't maintain the same strength all year round," Dr. Howard Robinson told the news network.

New Delhi has been labelled a “high risk” zone for dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The Times of India reported that the city registered at 8.6 on the UV index on Tuesday. A normal reading on that scale is between 1-4, with 7-10 classified as “high risk.”

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.