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Extreme heat covers 13 percent of the earth, study finds


Marion Kujawa looks over what usually is a pond he uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Illinois.


Scott Olson

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. 

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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."

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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. 

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