Scientists have discovered a gigantic hole that has reappeared in the Antarctic ice. It is about the size of the Netherlands and is located around the Weddell Sea.
In the 1970s climatologists found a similar hole at almost the same spot. At that time they didn’t have the observation equipment that they have now, so they couldn’t study the hole closely enough. After a few years it disappeared . Last year, the hole came up again.
Researchers cannot explain how the hole emerged. One theory is that warmer salt water from deep under the Antarctic ice sheet may have come up and mixed with cold water near the surface, thus , melting the ice sheet above. Normally a thick layer of ice covers Antarctica at the end of the southern winter. Scientists also claim that it may be connected to climate change and global warming.
Such a hole in the ice is called a polynya. Although not totally uncommon, it is strange that the hole in the Antarctic ice has appeared very far from its edge . Usually such holes are found in coastal regions.
Climatologists are not sure whether the hole will have an impact on the water temperature in the world’s oceans. If warmer water continues to surface to the top of the hole it may stay there for a longer period of time because it would then be difficult for ice layers to form.
Severe weather conditions during the Antarctic winter make it difficult to find holes in the ice . This is the second time in two years that such a hole has emerged , although last year’s was not that big.
although = while
claim = to say that something is true even if you cannot prove it
climatologist = person who studies the weather and how it changes the climate on earth
coastal = where land meets the sea
disappear = go away
discover = to find something that has not been there before
edge = the part of an object that is furthest from the centre
emerge = come out from somewhere
equipment = the tools or machines you need to do something
gigantic = huge; very big
global warming = the increase in the temperature of the atmosphere
ice sheet = area of thick ice that covers the North and South Poles
impact = influence, change
layer = material or substance between two other things
reappear = to come again, after it has gone away for some time
researcher = a person who studies a subject in order to find out more about it
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
The government of Thailand has announced that smoking on tourist beaches will not be allowed any more. Those who do not obey the new law must pay a fine of up to $3850 or risk going to prison for a year.
The ban will affect 20 tourist beaches. Authorities in Thailand have been coping with the problem of cigarette butts being thrown away and polluting the country’s wonderful beaches.
Tourism officials say, however, that there will be places further inland where tourists will be allowed to smoke.
The ban was proclaimed after authorities collected over 140,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5 km long stretch of beach on Phuket Island – 30% of all the total waste found near the coast.
Tourism makes up about 10% of the Thailand’s income. About 35 million people visit the country’s beaches every year.
affect = here: where the new law is put into effect
announce = to say in public
authorities = organisation or government department that has the power to make decisions
ban = law that forbids something
cigarette butt = part of a cigarette that remains when someone has finished smoking
cope = deal with
income = the money a country gets for services and products
inland = farther away from the beaches
obey = follow, respect
official = person who is in a high position
pollute = to make dirty
prison = building where you keep people as a punishment because they have done something wrong
proclaim = to say officially that something exists
Africa’s Great Green Wall is a project to create a natural wall of trees across Africa. The wall will stretch across Africa south of the Sahara desert from the Atlantic Ocean to the Horn of Africa. When finished the 8,000 km long and 15 km wide Great Green Wall will be the largest man-made structure on earth.
The project started in 2007 in an attempt to fight desertification, permanent drought and food shortages in countries of the Sahel zone, one of the poorest regions in the world.
However, the building of the wall is not moving forward fast enough. Up to now, only 15% of the trees have already been planted, mainly in Senegal. The ambitious project will cost over $4 billion. 21 African countries, the World Bank, the FAO and the French government have committed themselves to financing the natural wall.
The Great Green Wall will run through an area, in which the dry season can last up to 10 months a year. Experts claim that by 2025 a large part of the fertile land in the region could be lost if nothing is done to save it. In addition, the wall is expected to provide food for 20 million Africans and also bind millions of tons of carbon dioxide.
ambitious = good but difficult to do
bind = here: to make it stay in the ground and not let it escape into the atmosphere
carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animals breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
claim = to say that something is true, even if you cannot prove it
commit = here: to say that you will do something
desert = land where it is always dry and where there are few plants and a lot of rocks and sand
desertification = when farmland changes into desert
drought = long period of dry weather when there is not enough water for plants and animals to live
FAO = Food and Agriculture Organisation = organisation in the United Nations that helps produce food and gives it to poor people around the world
fertile = here: land that is good enough to produce food
mainly = mostly
move forward = to make progress; here: to continue building
permanent = existing for a long time
provide = give
Sahel zone = dry area of land between the Sahara desert and tropical Africa
The 2011 tsunami , which led to the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, has swept thousands of sea creatures across the Pacific Ocean to the US coast. In the past 6 years scientists have found mussels, starfish, crabs and other marine animals washed up on the American Pacific coast. Marine biologists expect that there are even more species to arrive in the future.
The giant waves caused by the tsunami in Japan were almost 40 metres tall and washed objects into the open sea. In 2012, scientists found debris together with living creatures on them near the Alaskan coast as well as in Hawaii. They were sea animals that have never before been seen there.
Scientists are surprised that marine species have been able to survive over such a long period in such bad conditions. However, most species travelled on plastic or glass objects, things that do not decompose and stay the same for many years. On the other hand, animals that travelled on wooden objects did not make the long journey across the Pacific, because wood lasts only for a short time.
Because the debris moved slowly across the ocean the animals had time to get used to their new surroundings as they travelled the 4,000 mile journey across the Pacific.
With so much plastic and other garbage swimming in the world’s oceans, the danger of marine animals being washed up on foreign coasts has never been greater.
Experts are not sure what effect these new species may have on the local environment. Such invasive species may change the ecosystem of the area they arrive at. They might transport new diseases or kill off existing species . In any case, it will take a decade or more to see the results.
crab= sea animal with a hard shell , five legs on each side and two large claws
creature = animal; living thing
debris = garbage, waste
decade = ten years
decompose = to break down into many smaller parts
disease = illness
ecosystem = the animals and plants in a certain area and they way they live together
effect = result ; change caused by an event
foreign = another country
garbage = waste; things people throw away
however = but
invasive species = plant or animal that does not grow naturally in an area but has come there from somewhere else
journey = trip
local environment = the world around the place that you live in
marine species = animals and plants that live in the ocean
mussel = small sea animal with a soft body that can be eaten and a black shell that is split into two parts
nuclear catastrophe = here: an atomic power plant explodes and sends dangerous radioactive waves into the atmosphere
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
starfish = flat sea animal that has five arms and looks like a star
surroundings = the place or natural area around a person or animal
survive = live on after a dangerous situation
sweep – swept = to push something away
tsunami = very large waves, most of the time cause by an earthquake in or near the sea.
According to a new report, diesel cars have caused thousands of premature deaths in Europe in the past few years. These deaths could have been avoided if countries had met anti-pollution standards. The recently published paper comes almost two years after the Volkswagen scandal, in which the German car maker was caught cheating on emission tests.
Europe is a continent with about a hundred million diesel-driven vehicles, almost twice as many as in all the other countries of the world combined. Years ago governments and car makers encouraged consumers to buy diesel cars because they were cheaper, used less fuel and produced less carbon dioxide. Many governments also offered tax reductions if people bought diesel cars. What has not been known until now is that diesel cars produce more nitrogen oxides, which may cause lung diseases.
Italy, Germany and France were the countries that recorded the most premature deaths from diesel-polluted vehicles. Especially diesel trucks that drive in denselypopulated areas contribute to the high level of pollution.
The Volkswagen scandal also shown that emission tests are not accurate and that in some cases diesel vehicles emit up to 4 times more substances than they do when tested in a lab.
Since the scandal broke , governments in Europe and elsewhere have been trying to get people to buy more petrol-driven cars. They have become more efficient than diesel vehicles and the difference in prices are not not as high any more.
according to = as said by …
accurate = detailed; exact
anti-pollution standards = laws that are made to keep pollution levels in a country low
avoid = stop ; not happen
carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animal or people breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
cheat = here: to trick people and not tell them the truth
combined = together
contribute = to help make something happen
densely populated = when many people live in a small area
efficient = if something works well
emission test = testing how much gas or dirty substances are sent into the air
emit = send into the atmosphere
encourage = to say that people should do something
especially = above all
fuel = liquid used to produce energy and make a car drive
government = the people who rule a country
nitrogen oxide = combination of nitrogen and oxygen
paper = report
petrol-driven = run with normal petrol, not diesel
premature = something that happens before the natural time
record = write down information
substance = material
tax reduction = to pay less tax than you normally would
vehicle = machine with an engine that is used to transport people or products
Researchers have found out that the size of an animal is important when it comes to extinction. Scientists have determined that the biggest and the smallest animals are more at risk of dying out than medium-sized animals.
Heavy animals are mostly endangered by hunting and poaching while the smallest creatures may die out because their living area is being polluted. Among the most endangered animals are elephants, lions and rhinos. Public awareness is large and campaigns to save such animals have been around for a long time. It is the smallest species that get the leastattention. Especially fish and frogs are in danger of dying out.
The species that are most at risk have a weight of over 1 kilogram. They are in danger of being killed because we need food, skin and other items.
According to the study, animals that are becoming extinct affect large ecosystems, like forests, deserts and oceans.
according to = as said by …
affect = to change a situation or a place
attention = to listen, look at or think carefully about something
campaign = actions that lead to solving a special problem
determine = to find out the facts about something
ecosystem =all the animals and plants that live in a certain area and how they live together
extinction = when a plant or animal stops existing
least = less than anything else
poaching = to catch or shoot wild animals illegally
pollute = to make something dirty and unusable
public awareness = most people know that a problem exists
researcher = person who studies a subject in order to find out something new about it.
scientist = a person who is trained in science
skin = the outer part of a person or an animal’s body
size = how big something is
species = group of animals that are similar and can have babies with each other