From the Morakot Typhoon last year to the Fanapi last month, it seems that we are facing a more and more severe climatic challenge. The heating drought in north and the massive flooding in south take a lot of price no matter for the government, families and individuals. Why are we expecting more and more intense typhoons year after year? Is there any way that people can turn everything around and save the earth? Surely, there are reasons for stronger typhoons which are highly likely to strike us. Therefore, it is urgent that people should do something for saving our planet. Let’s take a look of the report from VOA special report on climate change, Going Green.
What's Behind All The Extreme Weather?
Hurricanes, floods, and record heat. Is the recent spate of extreme weather conditions the result of climate change? As VOA's Rebecca Ward reports, the verdict is still out.
16 September 2010
Rebecca Ward | Washington DC
Read the article and answer the following questions.
It's been a long hot summer in the northern hemisphere. And along with the heat has come some extreme weather - storms in the Atlantic and Pacific, flooding and forest fires. In Russia, Moscovites wrestled with weeks of record breaking heat, while fire fighters fought devastating wildfires. Massive flooding in Pakistan continues to affect nearly 20 million people, with one-fifth of the country submerged at one point.
You don't need to be a climatologist to know things aren't as they should be.
"We're having our hottest year on record in a hundred and fifty years," says Jay Gulledge, senior scientist on global climate change at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "We know there's a long term warming trend that's been going on for the past century. The largest warming has occurred in the last half-century."
Gulledge says no one weather event can be specifically linked to climate change. But he says the trend indicates a relationship between weather and warming.
"If we put more heat in there, we will get more extreme weather, which means droughts, floods, hurricanes, etc. If we put less in, then the problem will not be as bad."
James Carton at the University of Maryland agrees, noting that the latest studies indicate as global warming progresses, the world will likely see extreme hurricanes - categories three, four and five - becoming more frequent.
"The science behind that is quite simple," says Carton. "Hurricanes draw their energy from the evaporation of surface temperatures from the ocean. And as the ocean warms up, and the ocean has been warming up, you can expect more evaporation, therefore more intense hurricanes."
But Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute warns against focussing on any one data set.
"I am looking at the accumulated energy cyclone index through August of 2010 and it is at its absolute lowest values since it was started to be taken in 1979, despite the fact that the planet is a few tenths of a degree warmer at its surface than it was. So, how strong is this relationship?"
More heat in the atmosphere is blamed on carbon emissions - the kind that results from burning coal, running automobiles and even switching on lightbulbs - pretty much any activity that takes some kind of energy. The more greenhouse gases the world produces, the warmer it gets. But Patrick Michaels says fears surrounding the effects of climate change are overblown.
"If you take a look at the actual rates of warming that are being observed and compare them to the median values produced by the United Nations computer models, you'll find that the observed rate of warming is at or near the low end of the ranges that are being predicted. That should be pretty reassuring. It should tell you that it's not the end of the world, that you have decades to figure what are you going to do about this, if anything."
At the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science, Professor James Carton has a different view, saying it isn't just the climate at risk because of too much carbon dioxide.
"As you increase the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, you increase the acidity of the ocean," he says. "And that is also becoming a serious problem because as the ocean becomes more acidic, they affect the shells of many of our plankton."
Carton says the best solution to a warming world would be to attack the problem directly. The Pew Center's Jay Gulledge agrees.
"At some point, my expertise is in the science, and at some point we're going to reach a level of impacts of climate change that is going to force behavorial change."
I. Listening comprehension
1. According to the climatologists, why are we expecting more and more intense typhoons year after year?
A) The evaporation of sea water brought by global warming
B) The weather just goes extreme without reasons
C) There are too many human activities which involve the emission of carbon dioxide
2. Patrick Michael from CATO Institute holds an opposite point of view regarding the emission of carbon dioxide which is widely considered as the main reason of global warming. Please point out which one of the followings is his reason?
A) Global warming was a fabricated term for covering the truth of energy crisis.
B) It is believed that there is no direct evidence so far to link the heatingtemperature and the climate change.
C) A hotter earth is not the end of the world. We still have decades to cope with the climatic crisis.
3. According to Prof. James Carton from the University of Maryland, how does carbon dioxide affect the lives in the sea?
A) The warming water kills the living creatures in the sea.
B) The acid rain falls on the sea water, which further jeopardizes the ecology in the sea.
C) Carbon dioxide increases the acidity in the sea water.
4. According to this report, what is the ultimate solution to climate change?
A) To decrease the emission of carbon dioxide.
B) To find other sustainable sources of energy.
C) To change our living behaviors.
II. Transcribing exercise
1. It’s been a long hot summer in the north, and along with the heat some _______ weathers, ________ in Atlantic and Pacific, flooding, and _______ fires.
2. In Russia, Muscovite wrestle with days of _________-________ heat.
3. While firemen fought more ______________ fires.
4. ___________ flooding in Pakistan affected nearly 20 million people and __________ 1/5 of its country.
1. Extreme: very large in amount or degree
2. Hemisphere: half of a sphere, especially the Earth
3. Submerge: to go below the surface of the sea or a river or lake
4. Typhoon: a violent wind which has a circular movement, found in the West Pacific Ocean
5. Hurricane: a violent wind which has a circular movement, especially found in the West Atlantic Ocean
6. Cyclone: a violent tropical storm or wind in which the air moves very fast in a circular direction, especially found in the Indian Ocean
7. Evaporation: to cause a liquid to change to a gas, especially by heating
8. Overblown: bigger or more impressive than it should be