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Sunday, Nov 23rd

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Triple-digit fall temperatures roasting California

California heatWhile people in some other parts of the country are watching the leaves turn a kaleidoscope of fall colors as they contemplate unpacking winter clothes, California is roasting under an autumn heat wave.

As high temperatures were ranging from the low 100s in Southern California to the 90s in the normally more temperate San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, National Weather Service forecasters warned that was just a warm-up for what was coming Friday and Saturday.

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Earthquake Rattles Wichita, Tulsa; 4.4-Magnitude Tremor Felt Widely in Kansas, Oklahoma

Tulsa earthquakeA 4.4-magnitude earthquake rattled a large part of Kansas and Oklahoma Thursday afternoon, just one day after residents had been ducking for cover from tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1:01 p.m. CDT. The epicenter was 7 miles east-southeast of Harper, Kansas, or about 43 miles southwest of Wichita, Kansas. There have been no immediate reports of damage. Wichita television station KAKE-TV said officials near the epicenter in Harper County, Kansas, reported no known damage.

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Climate change: 35,000 walruses 'haul out' on Alaskan shore

walrusus on shoreHaul out!  That's what it's called when animals congregate in large groups, and that's just what's happening with 35,000 walruses on the shore of Alaska.

But the phenomenon is no grand jubilee: The reason for the walrus gathering is bleak. The flippered marine mammals are changing their habits because of climate change, environmentalists say.

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Baker Hughes to reveal fracking components

fracking componentOil services company Baker Hughes said Wednesday it implemented its policy of fully disclosing the chemicals it uses in hydraulic fracturing.

"The policy we are implementing today is consistent with our belief that we are partners in solving industry challenges, and that we have a responsibility to provide the public with the information they want and deserve," Baker Hughes Chief Strategy Officer Derek Mathieson said in a statement.

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Frac Sand Rush Threatens American Towns, Advocates Warn

Frac sandVictoria Trinko hasn't opened the windows of her Wisconsin home in two years -- for fear of the dust clouds billowing from a frac sand mine a half-mile away.

"This blowing of silica sand has not abated since the inception of the mine in 2011," Trinko, a farmer and the town clerk for Cooks Valley, Wisconsin, said during a media call on Thursday highlighting an industry proliferating alongside horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Frac sand is an essential ingredient in the process of natural gas drilling.

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California Becomes First State To Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

Ban the bagGov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, driven to action by a buildup of litter and damage to aquatic ecosystems.

A national coalition of plastic bag manufacturers immediately said it would seek a voter referendum to repeal the law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2015.

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Australia's 2013 heat waves linked to human-caused climate change, studies conclude

australia heat linked to climate changeAustralia has suffered through two back-to-back sweltering summers, with a record-setting heat wave sweeping across the country at the end of 2013 and into 2014. Now, five separate studies published today conclude that the blazing summer was linked to human-caused climate change.

The papers are part of a larger report, Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). It includes 22 separate studies focusing on 16 different extreme weather events that occurred last year. And while researchers concluded that human activity had increased the likelihood and severity of Australia’s heat wave, they reported that it was hard to see any direct link between climate change and other extreme events last year—including the last 2 years of California drought and Colorado’s extreme rains.

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