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LESSON SIXTEEN HERE!
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In today’s lesson, entitled Melting Away, you will be listening to a passage about how global warming is affecting weather patterns all over the world. You will also learn about how some archeologists are benefiting from the melting polar and glacial ice that rising global temperatures are causing. Listen carefully to the passage and then answer the questions that follow. It’s always a good idea to take notes as you listen, but remember: don’t let your note-taking distract you from your listening.
Listen and Learn
Lesson Sixteen PASSAGE ONLY track:
In 2007, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to raise awareness of the imminent dangers of global warming. In his Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore graphically made his point: “Unless we reduce the amount of human-generated greenhouse gases significantly in the very near future, our planet, and ultimately mankind, will face dire consequences.”
Fast-forward nearly a decade. Gore’s urgent warnings notwithstanding, we are already feeling the effects of rising global temperatures, especially as manifested in extreme weather patterns, more acutely than ever before. And though “climate change skeptics” argue otherwise, the polar ice caps are melting at an ever-increasing rate. In the winter of 2015, scientists using satellites to survey the North Atlantic found that the polar ice reached its peak thickness near the end of February. This was weeks earlier than normal and represented the smallest extent of winter ice ever recorded in the satellite era.
This warming and melting, says oceanographer Jeff Key, could weaken the polar jet stream, the air currents that flow over North America, Europe, and Asia and that have a major impact on climate. The jet stream relies on the contrast between cold and warm temperatures, and a warmer North Atlantic would slow the jet stream down. The repercussions? No need to wait to find out. Cities across North America are already experiencing extreme weather events linked to jet-stream-related climate change. “Weather patterns could get stuck for longer periods,” said Key. “This winter, we saw record-breaking cold along America’s eastern seaboard, and California has been experiencing an ongoing drought.” Bad news, anyway you look at it.
But for some archeologists, the slowly retreating ice does have its advantages, at least from a strictly scholastic point of view. All over the world, animal and human remains and artifacts that have long been buried under snow and ice are being exposed. Melting glaciers have released centuries-old Roman coins, an iron-age horse, airplane wreckage, and even mummified bodies in full dress. “In a sense, the ice is like a time machine,” one scientist told Archaeology magazine. By studying this newly exposed evidence, archeologists may come up with answers to mysteries that have baffled historians for centuries.
But even this “good news” could have a harrowing side effect, say some scientists. Researchers recently found a 30,000-year-old virus—virulent enough to infect micro-organisms—that had been trapped in permafrost. What if other pathogens like a new strain of smallpox or the plague for which modern humans have no immunity are lurking in the ice? Well, there’s no need to panic just yet, says Michael Lane of the UK Center for Disease Control. “No one feels that there’s a serious chance that global warming will melt the permafrost and unleash an epidemic,” he told the Gizmodo Press.
Perhaps not. But this doesn’t mean we can breathe a sigh of relief. Global warming is a relentless fact. It is upsetting weather patterns, raising sea levels, expanding deserts, killing off plant and animal species. Again, Al Gore: “Climate change is the most dangerous crisis we’ve ever faced. But it also represents an opportunity. To solve this crisis, we can develop a shared sense of moral purpose.”
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Listen to Listen and Learn Lesson Sixteen LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS track:
Today’s listening comprehension questions are of various types. Follow the instructions for each question. Feel free to pause and listen several times if needed.
1. Write a full-sentence answer to this question.
For what did former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore win a Nobel Peace Prize?
2. Choose the best answer to this question.
What was the name of Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary?
a) An Uncomfortable Fact
b) The Global Warming and Climate Change Crisis
c) Imminent Dangers
d) An Inconvenient Truth
3. Decide if this sentence is true or false.
In the winter of 2015, scientists using satellites to survey the North Atlantic found that the polar ice reached its peak thickness weeks earlier than it usually does.
4. Write a full-sentence answer to this question.
What, according to oceanographer Jeff Key, could weaken the air currents that flow over North America, Europe, and Asia?
5. Choose the best answer to this question
What extreme climate-change-related weather events have some cities in North America been experiencing?
a) America’s eastern seaboard has had an unusually rainy spring.
b) The state of California has been experiencing an ongoing drought.
c) America’s east coast has had less winter snow than ever before.
d) The state of California has experienced record-breaking cold temperatures.
6. Decide if this sentence is true or false.
Human remains and ancient artifacts have been washing up on shore along the North Atlantic coast.
7. Write a brief answer to this question.
What type of scientist is benefiting from the slowly retreating ice?
8. Complete this statement.
Researchers recently found a 30,000-year-old pathogen trapped in permafrost that …
a) could potentially kill millions of humans.
b) could soon unleash a deadly epidemic.
c) is virulent enough to infect micro-organisms.
d) is a new strain of either small pox or the plague.
9. Write a brief answer to the following question.
In addition to upsetting weather patterns, in what other ways is global warming damaging the world we live in?
10. Write a full sentence answer to this question.
What does Al Gore mean when he says that climate change represents an “opportunity”?
Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did. The correct answers will follow immediately after the closing jingle, so stay tuned. Answers are also available on the KA Wordcast website as a separate track. You can also download the lesson in PDF format and keep it for your reference. And be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will improve your understanding of the passage itself and give you a bigger, better active vocabulary.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE!:
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn! Lesson SIXTEEN
KEY VOCABULARY WORDS
Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.
In 2007, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to raise awareness of the IMMINENT dangers of global warming.
IMMINENT is an adjective that means likely or about to happen very soon. Impending, looming, in store, expected, and fast approaching are some near synonyms.
When we saw the dark clouds rolling in from the east, we knew that a storm was IMMINENT and that the baseball game would be rained out.
The IMMINENT closure of the auto factory meant that several hundred workers would soon be out of a job.
According to the Government UK website, a “severe” threat level means that a terrorist attack is IMMINENT.
Despite years of research and millions spent on experimental medicines, a cure for the common cold is still not IMMINENT.
USAGE NOTE: IMMINENT is often confused with the much more difficult word IMMANENT, which means existing or being a natural part of something. Synonyms include inherent, innate, and intrinsic. And then to confuse you even more, there’s EMINENT, which means very famous and highly regarded or respected. Synonyms include renowned and esteemed. Look at these examples.
Russell’s a liberal humanist who believes in the IMMANENT goodness of mankind.
Our department is lucky to have as teachers two of the most EMINENT scholars working in the field of Ancient Egyptian history.
Fast-forward nearly a decade. Gore’s urgent warnings notwithstanding, we are already feeling the effects of rising global temperatures, especially as MANIFESTED in extreme weather patterns, more acutely than ever before.
In the sentence above, MANIFEST is a verb that means to appear or become evident, or to show. Synonyms include reflect, be evidence of, appear, reveal, and indicate.
Some people believe that a traumatic childhood experience can MANIFEST as an eating disorder later in life.
Tara’s unusual talent for drawing and painting MANIFESTED itself almost as soon as she could walk and talk.
Child psychologists say that signs of autism typically MANIFEST during the first three years of a child’s life.
Rather than MANIFESTING your disapproval of the new homework system simply by complaining about it to other parents, why don’t you take it up directly with school officials?
Footage of a white, ghost-like figure that MANIFESTED on a CCTV camera had millions of views and shares after it was posted on Facebook.
MANIFEST is also an adjective that means clear or easy to understand. Obvious, plain, apparent, and evident are the nearest synonyms.
Katherine’s nervousness was MANIFEST to all her friends and family who had come to see her perform in the school play.
The resentment that the singer/songwriter felt towards his former band mates is MANIFEST in the lyrics of almost every song in his first solo album.
The jet stream relies on the contrast between cold and warm temperatures, and a warmer North Atlantic would slow the jet stream down. The REPERCUSSIONS? No need to wait to find out.
REPERCUSSION is a noun synonymous with consequence. Often used in the plural, REPERCUSSION refers to something bad that could happen as an indirect result of an action or event. Outcome, effect, backlash, fallout, and ripple effect are some words you can use in place of REPERCUSSION.
Unfortunately, a poor attendance score is not the only REPERCUSSION for missing too many days of school in an academic year.
After picking a fight on the playground and throwing a few punches, Ryan had to face the REPERCUSSIONS, which meant at least a week’s suspension.
As soon as I saw the “D” grade on my report card, I knew there would be REPERCUSSIONS with my parents.
An unusually cool or rainy summer could have serious REPERCUSSIONS for the seaside town, which is economically dependent on the annual arrival of beach-loving tourists.
But for some archeologists, the slowly retreating ice does have its advantages, at least from a strictly SCHOLASTIC point of view.
In the sentence above, SCHOLASTIC is an adjective that means of or concerning school or education. Scholarly and academic are the nearest synonyms.
Having failed three out of his six classes last semester, Trent is on SCHOLASTIC probation until further notice.
The Walter Davis Scholarship is awarded to pupils from underprivileged neighborhoods for SCHOLASTIC achievement and athletic excellence.
Our journalism class is producing an on-line version of our school’s SCHOLASTIC newspaper for students.
Our class trip to Harvard University included a guided tour of the campus and a SCHOLASTIC presentation in the Geological Lecture Hall.
SCHOLASTIC is also sometimes used as a noun to mean academic or professor.
The conference, attended by SCHOLASTICS from all around the globe, aimed to find solutions for the growing problem of international migration.
But even this “good news” could have a HARROWING side effect, say some scientists.
Something that is HARROWING is shocking, frightening, and very upsetting. Synonyms include distressing, disturbing, horrifying, and tragic.
The HARROWING aerial footage of the derailed rollercoaster with sixteen people trapped on board was filmed not by a news helicopter, but by a drone enthusiast who happened to be nearby.
One of the most HARROWING flight experiences I’ve ever had was when our plane hit a pocket of turbulence just as we were about to land at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Ironically, HARROWING images of starving children were projected onto a giant screen while guests at the charity event enjoyed a lavish four-course meal.
The guest speaker painted a HARROWING picture of his experience as a Red Cross volunteer in Nepal following the recent devastating earthquake.
Global warming is a RELENTLESS fact. It is upsetting weather patterns, raising sea levels, expanding deserts, killing off plant and animal species.
In the sentence above, RELENTLESS is an adjective that means never letting up in harshness or severity. Synonyms include remorseless, cruel, merciless, and implacable.
Our U.S. History teacher Mr. Lee was an amicable but RELENTLESS taskmaster who made us write a 1,000-word essay every week.
The President’s rivals have been waging a RELENTLESS campaign of slander against him ever since he entered the White House.
The RELENTLESS army marched through towns and villages, destroying and setting fire to everything along the way.
RELENTLESS also means not stopping or not weakening. Persistent and unfaltering are the nearest synonyms.
Despite spraining his ankle early on, the RELENTLESS runner persevered and finished the Omei Marathon in a respectable time.
If you can stand the RELENTLESS desert heat, then you might try taking part in the unique Burning Man Arts and Culture Festival that is held in Nevada every August.
RELENTLESSLY is the adverb form of RELENTLESS for both of the above uses.
The Spartans fought RELENTLESSLY to overcome a two-goal deficit and ended up winning the game by scoring three goals in the second half.
It was the monsoon season, and rain fell RELENTLESSLY for the entire two weeks of our holiday in Tokyo.
Throughout much of her life, Mother Teresa worked RELENTLESSLY on behalf of Calcutta’s poor and disabled.
RELENTLESS is based on the verb RELENT, which means to become more lenient, compassionate, or forgiving. Synonyms include yield, bow, submit, and capitulate.
My parents at last RELENTED and allowed me to go to the rock festival with my friends.
Even after I explained that I had had a terrible headache on the day of the exam, Mr. Harris refused to RELENT and give me another chance.