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Section 1. GUIDELINES FOR READING ACADEMIC TEXTS

REVISION: MAIN TOPIC AND SUBTOPICS, TEXT ORGANIZATION, MAKING INFERENCES, EXPLICATION OF SPECIFIC INFORMATION

MAIN IDEA, SUBHEADINGS, KEY WORDS, VOCABULARY IN CONTEXT, SPECIFIC WORDS

Instruction: This is another revision unit in which you should combine all skills you have mastered in the preceding nine units. You will have to start with identifying the main idea, the main topic, or the main purpose of the text. Then follows the task of: matching headings with paragraphs or sections, and identifying which sections relate to which topics. Basing on circumstantial evidence, inferences and vocabulary-in context you will have to look into specific information given in the text.

The Global Warming Issue

Since the early 1970’s, Earth’s average surface air temperature has increased rapidly — more rapidly than at any time in recorded history. In itself, a change in Earth’s climate is nothing new. Throughout the planet’s history, warm periods have alternated with ice ages, spans of tens of thousands of years during which large areas of Earth were covered by glaciers.

In the past, global climatic changes have been the result of changes in geological and biological processes, cloud cover, ocean currents, and even the amount of radiation the sun produces. These factors continue to affect the Earth. But many scientists fear that the current warming is the result of human activities that produce carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases that accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat from the sun. These scientists believe that warming from the continued accumulation of greenhouse gases may cause serious environmental, social, and economic problems for people around the world.

Heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane are responsible for the natural greenhouse effect: They keep the Earth substantially warmer than it would be otherwise.

The Earth is bathed continuously in radiant energy from the sun in the form of light and heat. Some of the heat is absorbed by heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, and this warms Earth’s atmosphere. Some of the light energy from the sun that strikes Earth’s atmosphere is reflected back into space. The surface of the Earth absorbs the rest of the light energy and radiates it back again as heat. Some of this heat can be absorbed by the heat-trapping gases.

Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas. Natural cycles ordinarily keep the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from changing rapidly. Some car, bark, roots, and organic material in the soil decay, releasing carbon dioxide and methane.

About 6 billion metric tons (6.6 billion short tons) of carbon are released into the atmosphere each year through the combustion of fossil fuels. About 3 billion tons are released from deforestation, and an unknown additional quantity comes from the accelerated decay of organic matter.

Scientists have been monitoring carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since 1958. That year, the first precise; measurements of the levels of carbon dioxide in Earth&

rsquo;s atmosphere were developed by Charles David Keeling at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. He and his colleagues set up measuring devices 3,300 meters (11,000 feet) above sea level on Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Since then, Keeling has measured a steady rise in carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere. For example, in 1990, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were about 25 per cent higher than those measured in air trapped in ice that formed in 1880.

Scientists believe that the largest source of the increase is the combustion of fossil fuels, which produced about 160 billion metric tons (176 billion short tons) of carbon from 1850 to 1980. Experts estimate that deforestation has released a somewhat lesser amount.

Some data are not in question: The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is now higher than at any time in the past 160,000 years. The causes are human activities — deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. The effect of adding carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere will be to make Earth warmer than it would have been otherwise.

But many other uncertainties surround the issue of global warming. Chief among them is when the heat-trapping gases, among the various factors that affect the temperature of the Earth, will dominate and cause a rapid warming.

Most scientists say that the rising levels of carbon dioxide have already caused an increase in Earth’s average surface temperature. To establish such a link, the scientists compare the rising carbon dioxide levels with temperature measurements taken during the past 100 years. Until the early 1900’s, Earth’s average surface temperature was warming slowly. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, record high annual global temperatures have been recorded, with 1991 being the warmest year on record. The rate of warming since 1980 has been about 0.2 degree Celsius (0.4 degree Fahrenheit) per decade.

These scientists fear that global warming will cause temperatures to increase by as much as 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) per decade sometime between 2000 and 2030, perhaps more in the higher latitudes. The temperature increase could severely affect the world’s major agricultural regions. Crops could no longer be grown in the Midwestern United States, and the major foodproducing regions would shift to Canada and Siberia. The higher temperatures could also melt polar ice, flooding low-lying areas — such as the deltas of Egypt’s Nile River, India’s Ganges River, and North America’s Mississippi River, as well as cities along seacoasts.

Although there is a consensus within most of the scientific community as to the seriousness and causes of the problem, a smaller number of scientists question whether Earth will warm in response to the increasing levels of heattrapping gases or whether the warming will be a problem for human beings. Their reasons differ. They range from assertions that the warming will be checked by an increase in cloud cover to predictions that plants will grow better on a warmer Earth. The discussion is made more complex by the assertions of U.S. government officials that taking action to curb the use of fossil fuels would be too costly. Many scientists and international leaders dispute this point as well.

For ecologists, one crucial question is the effect of higher temperatures on plants and on microorganisms that cause decay. Evidence shows that higher temperatures will have little effect on rates of photosynthesis, a process that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But the warming will increase rates of respiration among some organisms, thus releasing more carbon dioxide.

A 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) increase in temperature often increases rates of respiration in some organisms by 10 per cent to 30 per cent. Warming will thus speed the decay of organic matter in soils, peat in bogs, and organic debris in marshes. Indeed, the higher temperatures of the last few decades appear to have accelerated the decay of organic matter in the Arctic tundra.

Warming will also change patterns of rainfall and other aspects of climate. Scientists think that such changes destroy large, long-lived plants such as trees and favor small plants with short lifetimes and rapid reproduction. Thus, forests may be destroyed and replaced by shrubs or grassland. The death of some plants and their decay will release more stored carbon into the atmosphere.

Another important question involves the effect of rising levels of carbon dioxide coupled with the higher temperatures. Together, these factors may increase the amount of carbon plants take in and may increase plant growth, at least under certain circumstances. Abundant evidence from studies of plants in greenhouses seems to confirm this.

Increased plant growth would be beneficial, because plants would remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis. But ecologists fear that the stimulation of plant growth must be small. There is no evidence, for example, that the higher temperatures and rising carbon dioxide levels of recent decades has increased the growth of trees worldwide. Although controversy surrounds this point, many experts believe that a rapid warming will lead to the rapid loss of carbon from plants and soils and thus to an acceleration of the warming.

To gather more evidence, researchers analyze air in glacial ice to compile a record of carbon dioxide and methane concentrations in the atmosphere. The data show that as temperatures rose in the past, the concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane also rose. As temperatures fell over thousands of years, the concentrations also fell, though not always in perfect unison.

The pattern is consistent with, but does not prove, the theory that a warming releases carbon stored in vegetation and soils and that a cooling results in storage of carbon there. The processes involved in such transitions are complex, however. Such relatively simple explanations may ultimately need to be changed.

F. How might we stabilize the composition of the atmosphere? That question looms large in the eyes of scientists and political leaders as the levels of carbon dioxide grow. Carbon dioxide and methane have long lives in the atmosphere and, once they are there, Earth may be destined to become warmer. If we find that the climate is becoming too warm, there is no easy or rapid way to remove the gases and return to an earlier climatic pattern.

We may be able to control fossil fuel use and rates of deforestation, but there is no direct way to control the acceleration of decay except by stopping the warming. To stabilize the composition of the atmosphere immediately, we would have to cut present releases by about 4 billion tons of carbon annually. It is not now possible to accomplish this without reducing both deforestation and our consumption of fossil fuels.

Most scientists believe that if immediate global action is not taken, the rapid increases of atmospheric carbon from decay will exceed the reductions possible through control of fossil fuel use and management of forests. In 2008, the United Nations gathered many scientists from around the world to review these issues. This group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded that an immediate 60 per cent reduction in fossil fuel use would be necessary. But by April 2008, no nation had accepted that goal, though several had recognized a need for reducing emissions by 20 per cent.

At the Earth Summit in June 1992, leaders from most industrialized nations agreed in principle to return to earlier levels of carbon dioxide emissions — though opposition from the United States prevented them from agreeing to specific targets for emissions, as many scientists had hoped. The leaders also agreed to assist developing nations in limiting their releases of greenhouse gases.

Task: Answer the following questions:

What is the main topic of the passage?

The current warming is the result of human activities that produce carbon dioxide.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused an increase in Earth’s average surface temperature.

Earth may be destined to become warmer.

There is no way to control the acceleration of. global warming.

What does the passage mainly discuss?

Global climatic changes.

The current concentrations of carbon dioxide.

Warming as a problem for human beings.

Stabilization of atmosphere composition.

What is the author’s attitude toward scientists who question the danger of global warming?

He shares their position.

He strongly disagrees.

He tries to be objective.

He doesn’t care.

Where in the four sentences does the author discuss causes of the current global warming?

Global climatic changes have been the result of changes in geological and biological processes.

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat from the sun..

The Earth is bathed in radiant energy from the sun in the form of light and heat.

Natural cycles ordinarily keep the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from changing rapidly.

Read the passage: «For ecologists, one crucial question is the effect of higher temperatures on plants and on microorganisms that cause decay. Evidence shows that higher temperatures will have little effect on rates of photosynthesis, a process that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But the warming will increase rates of respiration among some organisms, thus releasing more carbon dioxide.

A 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) increase in temperature often increases rates of respiration in some organisms by 10 per cent to 30 per cent. Warming will thus speed the decay of organic matter in soils, peat in bogs, and organic debris in marshes. Indeed, the higher temperatures of the last few decades appear to have accelerated the decay of organic matter in the Arctic tundra.»

What do ecologists fear most of al about global warming?

Higher temperatures will have little effect on rates of photosynthesis.

Higher temperatures will accelerate the rates of respiration.

The warming will increase rates of respiration in organic matter.

Increased rates of respiration will release more carbon dioxide.

Task: Match the following 6 headings with letters A, B, C, D, E, F.

Controlling global warming A

The controversy over global warming B

A build-up of carbon dioxide C

The greenhouse effect D

Fossil fuels E

Predicting the course of global warming F

Your task is to choose the correct one from the list of headings provided. You should skim a paragraph or section before choosing the correct answer from the list. Remember that it is more efficient to skim the long piece of text first and get the idea of the whole text. Then you can look through the alternative headings very quickly.

Step 1 Survey the text

The list of headings will give you some clues to help you quickly understand what each part of the text is about.

Step 2 Skim read each paragraph

Every paragraph deals with a specific aspect of a topic. The first sentence of a paragraph may tell you what the rest of the paragraph is about. Therefore while trying to identify the main idea of a paragraph, you should read the first sentence and skim the rest of the paragraph.

Task: Scan the text for key words

This title The Global Warming Issue can help you understand that key words must concern any kinds of human activities causing the global warming or be connected with measures taken to reduce it. E.g., in paragraph A it is possible to point out the following key words: human activities, greenhouse gases, warming, heat-trapping gases, light energy, carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane. Follow the three-step strategy to make finding key words easier.

Step 1 Make sure you know what you are looking for.

Step 2 Scan each paragraph for 5-10 key words. Do not read every word.

Step 3 Select 5-10 key words for the whole text.

Task: Use your general background knowledge and the knowledge of general context, your knowledge of parts of speech and root words. Read this passage from paragraph D:

«These scientists fear that global warming will cause temperatures to increase by as much as 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) per decade sometime between 2000 and 2030, perhaps more in the higher latitudes. The temperature increase could severely affect the world’s major agricultural regions. Crops could no longer be grown in the Midwestern United States, and the major food-producing regions would shift to Canada and Siberia. The higher temperatures could also melt polar ice, flooding low-lying areas — such as the deltas of Egypt’s Nile River, India’s Ganges River, and North America’s Mississippi River, as well as cities along seacoasts.»

As you may see, the first two sentences present a good example of a logical sequence of actions: global warming would cause temperatures — temperatures would increase — the increase would affect agricultural regions.

The next two sentences present a chain of logical consequences: crops could no longer be grown — food-producing regions would shift — polar ice would melt — low-lying areas would be flooded.

This logical chain presents the main idea of the whole text. The technique of building a logical chain will help you define the main idea and the main topic of any special text.

Your knowledge of the root word can also help you make up word nests for your vocabulary, e.g.: to increase — an increase; to cause — a cause; to produce food — food-producing; to lie low — low-lying; to trapheat — heattrapping.

Task:

Basing on paragraph A give a definition of the greenhouse effect.

Basing on paragraph B explain why the release of carbon dioxide before the Industrial Revolution was hardly noticeable.

Basing on paragraph C explain what measurements were developed by David Keeling and his colleagues..

Basing on paragraph E explain why ecologists think that increased plant growth would be beneficial.

Basing on paragraph F explain what will happen if immediate global ac-

tion is not taken.

Task: Collect specific information by pointing out groups of synonyms, semantic and thematic groups. Keep it in mind that vocabulary in context includes both single words (usually nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) and twoor three-word phrases.

Find a synonym for the word to give off in paragraph B.

It is claimed in paragraph C that organic materials decay, releasing carbon dioxide and methane. Continue this list and find other names of organic materials.

Explain a contrast in the following sentences from paragraph F: We may

be able to control fossil fuel use and rates of deforestation, but there is no direct way to control the acceleration of decay except by stopping the warming.

What is the referent word for the word that in the sentence «For ecologists,

one crucial question is the effect of higher temperatures on plants and on microorganisms that cause decay»?

Read the following passage from paragraph E: «Another important ques-

tion involves the effect of rising levels of carbon dioxide coupled with the higher temperatures. Together, these factors may increase the amount of carbon plants take in and may increase plant growth, at least under certain circumstances. Abundant evidence from studies of plants in greenhouses seems to confirm this.»

How are the words coupled and together connected?

What is the referent for the word this?

Section 2. GUIDELINES FOR GRAMMAR TEST

Preposition use

It is important that you be familiar with the correct usage of prepositions and practice these prepositions in sentences:

Adjectives/Participles + Prepositions (1)

acceptable to, accustomed to, adequate for, afraid of, aware of, based on, capable of, characteristic of, close to, composed of, contrary to, dependent on, different from, disappointed in/with, eligible for equipped with equal to essential to/for familiar with famous for.

Adjectives/Participles + Prepositions (2)

free of next to related to

independent of opposed to relevant to

inferior to opposite of satisfied with

married to perfect for suitable for

native to possible for surprised at/by

necessary for/to preferable to typical of

Opposite of is used for words or concepts that are completely different, such as «large» and «small.» When opposite means «across from,» it is not used with of. «The bank is opposite the post office on Cedar Street.»

Nouns + Prepositions

approach to exception to origin of attention to experience with price of because of expert on probability of

contribution to form of quality of

component of group of reason for cure for improvement in reliance on

increase in increase in result of

demand for influence on solution to

effect of/on* interest in supply of example of native of

effect + of + cause

effect + on + thing or person affected (The effect o/heat on rocks...)

Verbs + Prepositions

account for compete with insist on

adjust to concentrate on interfere with agree with/on* consist of plan on

attach to contribute to participate in

attribute to cooperate with refer to

begin with deal with rely on

believe in depend on result in

belong to devote to search for

combine with engage in

Phrasal Prepositions

agree with is used with people

agree on is used with an issue, plan, etc. (I agreed with Mary on that issue.)

Phrasal Prepositions

In, On, and At (1) Expressions of time

  • · + century (in the eighteenth century)
  • · + decade (in the 1990s)
  • · + year (in 1975) in
  • · + season (in the summer)
  • · + month (in July)
  • · + parts of the day (in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon)
  • · + days of the week (on Wednesday)
  • · + dates (on October 7)
  • · + time of day (at 6pm; at noon)
  • · + night
  • · Expressions of place
  • · + continent (in Africa)
  • · + country (in Mexico)
  • · + state (in Pennsylvania)
  • · + city (in Los Angeles)
  • · + building (in the bank)
  • · + room (in the auditorium)
  • · + in the world
  • · + street (on Maxwell Street)
  • · on + floor of a building (on the fourth floor)
  • · + on Earth
  • · at + address (at 123 Commonwealth Avenue)

In, On, and At, (2)

The prepositions in, on, and at are also used in a number of set expressions: in a book/magazine/newspaper on a bus/train/etc.at best/worst

in charge (o0 on fire at first/last

in common (with) on the other hand at once

in danger (of) on purpose at the peak (of)

in detail on radio/television at present

in existence on the whole at the moment in the front/middle/back at birth

in general at death

in practice at random

in the past/future in a row

in style in theory

Other Prepositions

By is often used with forms of communication and transportation:

by car, by plane, by phone, by express mail (Note: if the noun is plural or is preceded by a determiner, the prepositions in or on must be used:

in cars, on a boat, on the telephone, in a taxi By is also used with gerunds to show how an action happened:

How did you get an appointment with the President? By calling his secretary. With is used to indicate the idea of accompaniment or possession:

Melanie came to the party with her friend. He wanted a house with a garage. Without indicates the opposite relationship:

Melanie came to the party without her friend. He bought a house without a garage.

With also indicates that an instrument was used to perform an action:

He opened the door with a key. Without indicates the opposite relationship:

He opened the door without a key. By and for are also used in the following expressions:

by chance for example

by far for free

by hand for now

For is sometimes used to show purpose; it means «to get.» She went to the store for toothpaste and shampoo.

Mini-test

Identify and correct errors involving prepositions

(Throughout/In/At/On) the planet’s history, warm periods have alternated (with/to/by) ice ages, spans of tens (of/no article) thousands (of/no article) years during which large areas (on/of) Earth were covered (with/by) glaciers.

(In/At/On) the past, global climatic changes have been the result of changes (at/in/of) geological and biological processes, cloud cover, ocean currents, and even the amount of radiation the sun produces.

Human activities produce (of/no article) carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases that accumulate (by/at/in) the atmosphere and trap heat (on/in/from) the sun.

Natural cycles ordinarily keep the levels of carbon dioxide (by/at/in) the atmosphere (at/on/from) changing rapidly.

(Throughout/In/At/On/Throughout of) most of the planet’s recent history, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has not changed (since/from/by) year to year as long as the processes of carbon release and absorption were (at/on/in) balance

The oceans have a very large capacity (in/at//by/for) holding carbon dioxide. (In/On/At) the same time, the human population has increased, and people

have cleared more and more forestland to make room (in/at/of/for) agriculture and other enterprises.

This deforestation (destruction of forests) leads (at/in/to) still higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Scientists have been monitoring (on/in/no article) carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (from/since) 1958.

These levels can be compared (by/to/with) the concentrations found (on/for/in) bubbles of air trapped (on/for/in) glacial ice up to 160,000 years ago.

These scientists fear that global warming will cause temperatures to increase (at/0n/in/by) as much as 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) per decade sometime (from/between) 2000 and 2030, perhaps more (in/for/at/on) the higher latitudes.

The temperature increase could severely affect (on/no article/at) the world’s major agricultural regions.

For ecologists, one crucial question is the effect (on/of) higher temperatures (on/of/at/to) plants and microorganisms that cause decay.

Although controversy surrounds (around/round/no article) this point, many experts believe that a rapid warming will lead (at/in/to) the rapid loss of carbon (of/from/to) plants and soils and thus (of/from/to) an acceleration of the warming.

If we find that the climate is becoming too warm, there is no easy or rapid way to remove the gases and return (at/in/to) an earlier climatic pattern.

In 2008, the United Nations gathered many scientists from (round/around) the world to review these issues. This group concluded that an immediate 60 per cent reduction (of/at/in) fossil fuel use would be necessary. But (at/on/in/by) April 2008, no nation had accepted that goal, though several had recognized a need (to/at/for) reducing emissions by 20 per cent.


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