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SoCal in Flames, Hurricanes Head North, Kitty Litter That's Too Hot to Handle
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

California steamin': Fire season started early for San Diego County yesterday when flames singed more than 9,000 acres. This part of California, suffering from its worst drought in decades, is particularly vulnerable to wildfires and the Santa Ana winds that can quickly spread conflagrations. The flames and smoke affected universities, houses, and an inactive nuclear power plant. CNN

The way the wind blows: Three leading weather experts say that human-induced climate change is causing hurricanes to reach peak strength farther north. A definitive link between hurricanes and global warming has been difficult to prove, but the study published in the journal Nature today could be the smoking gun that shows how they’re connected. Washington Post

The black carpet: A pipeline burst in California yesterday, spilling 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the streets of a Los Angeles suburb. In some areas the oil was knee-deep. USA Today

Lost lobo: Only one wolf has been seen in Iowa in the last 89 years. Last February a hunter who mistook the endangered species for a coyote shot and killed it, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. (DNA testing confirmed the animal’s identity.) Other wolves appear to be moving into the area, though, so hunters should watch what they shoot, caution state officials. Huffington Post

Oil and water: Fracking requires a lot of water (and in some places may cause earthquakes). So Californians, who are currently living through one the worst droughts in their state’s history, have a new reason to push for banning the drilling practice. Lawmakers in California, the third largest oil-producing state, are even considering a ban. New York Times

Super scoop: Kitty litter is great for lots of things—like soaking up Fluffy’s urine! Soaking up radioactive debris? Not so much. At a nuclear storage facility in New Mexico this week, a reaction between kitty litter and radioactive waste may have gotten so hot that it melted seals on steel containment drums. Reuters

DAILY DISTRACTION:

And the band played on: The recent news about the unstoppable melting of Antarctica sure is depressing. Cheer yourself up with this little ditty by a Penn State geoscience professor. (And then recommence crying.) YouTube

OTHER HEADLINES:

What Does Climate Change Mean for Europe’s Wine Industry, Huffington Post

Big Mammals vs. Big Oil: New Pipeline Puts Humpback Whales at Risk, Al Jazeera America

Groundwater Depletion Is Destabilizing the San Andreas Fault and Increasing Earthquake Risk, San Francisco Public Press

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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