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Extreme heat covers 13 percent of the earth, study finds

The percentage of the earth's surface experiencing extreme heat, much of it from global warming, has risen drastically since 1980.

America drought 2012 07 25Enlarge
Marion Kujawa looks over what usually is a pond he uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Extreme heat is covering 13 percent of the earth, a drastic increase since the figure was less than one percent in the years before 1980, a new study has found

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points to global warming as the main culprit for the spike.

The scientists behind the study claim that events like the last year's heat wave in Texas and the Russian heat wave of 2010 would not have happened without the climate change caused by the release of greenhouse gases by human activities, the New York Times reported.

“The main thing is just to look at the statistics and see that the change is too large to be natural,” James Hansen, one of the climate scientists who produced the report, told the Times. 

More from GlobalPost: Thousands of fish die in Midwest due to heat

James Hansen has headed Nasa's prestigious Goddard Institute for Space Studies for more than three decades. A pioneer of climate research, he was one of the first prominent scientists to warn of global warming.

Climate skeptics have accused him of tampering with temperature recordings, the Atlantic Wire reported. However, as the Times noted, "there is no proof that he has done so and the warming trend has repeatedly been confirmed by other researchers."

More from GlobalPost: NOAA: July 2012 was America's hottest month on record

July was the hottest month recorded in the United States since 1895, NOAA reported, and 55 percent of the US is experiencing least moderate drought conditions. 

More from GlobalPost: In-depth series: The Drylands

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/global-warming/120809/extreme-heat-13-percent-earth-climate-change