Controlling the weather 人類控制天氣

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幾個世紀以來,人類一直試圖控制天氣,比如,人們認為人工降雨可以帶來好處。本文探討我們是否可以透過人工手段控制天氣。

字彙:weather 天氣

The weather affects all of us. An unexpected downpour or hot spell can be annoying, but when conditions are more extreme, it can severely impact agriculture, transport infrastructure and our homes. It’s no surprise that for centuries scientists have tried to control the weather – but is it really possible?

Due to climate change, there are more regular occurrences of heatwaves, which cause droughts, and torrential rain, which is responsible for flooding. Although humans are the cause of much of it, maybe we have a solution too? For example, China, the UAE and the USA are at the forefront of research into methods of producing rain in drought-stricken areas. And some scientists are even thinking about investigating technologies which could cool the entire planet.

It might sound like science fiction, but weather modification is nothing new. In the 1940s, scientists discovered that dropping particles of silver iodide into cloud tops, made the tiny water droplets condense and could stimulate precipitation. That’s called cloud seeding. This is a technique still being tested today with the aim of producing extra rainfall and, therefore, water for drought-affected farmers.

Other ideas for keeping nature at bay include using lasers to generate clouds and for controlling thunderstorms. One idea involved firing laser pulses into thunderclouds in an attempt to suck out lightning in a controlled manner. This was unsuccessful. New research into solar geoengineering has also begun. This type of climate engineering involves sunlight being reflected back to space to limit or reverse human-caused climate change.

Despite all this ongoing research, there’s no conclusive evidence that our weather can be controlled. Chris Bell, a lecturer in meteorology at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Future: “We may, one day, have the technology to control the weather, but it will be in thousands, not hundreds, of years.” So, for now, we still need to rely on Mother Nature to control our weather.

字彙表

downpour 暴雨
hot spell 一段短暫持續的高溫天氣
extreme 極端的
climate change 氣候變化
heatwave 熱浪
drought 乾旱
torrential rain 傾盆大雨
flooding 洪水
drought-stricken 遭受旱災的,受旱災影響的
cool 降溫,(使)變涼
weather modification 人工影響天氣
silver iodide 碘化銀
condense (使)凝結
precipitation 降水
cloud seeding (為進行人工降雨而作的)人工降雨
rainfall 降雨
thunderstorm 雷雨
thundercloud 雷雨雲
lightning 閃電
solar geoengineering 太陽地球工程
sunlight 陽光
meteorology 氣象學
Mother Nature 大自然

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or false? Trying to control the weather is a new idea.

2. What chemical was used to try to generate precipitation from clouds?

3. Who could benefit from extra rainfall created by cloud seeding?

4. What does solar geoengineering try to do with sunlight?

5. How did one experiment try to use lasers to control thunderstorms?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或片語來完成下列句子。

1. According to the weather forecast, we’re in for a wet _______, so I’m buying an umbrella.

rainfall                     spell                                downpour                  extreme

2. Some say eating oranges will keep your cold _______.

at bay                      on bay                             to bay                        at bays

3. The rain is _______ – we can’t go out for a walk in this!

downpour                thunderstorms                 torrential                    droughts

4. Water vapour in the air _______ and turns into fog.

precipitation             extremes                         heatwaves                 condenses

5. The heat is _______, so I’m staying indoors to keep cool.

extremely                 extremed                         extreme                     extremes

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or false? Trying to control the weather is a new idea.
False. Scientists have tried to control the weather for centuries.

2. What chemical was used to try to generate precipitation from clouds?
In the 1940s, scientists discovered dropping particles of silver iodide into cloud tops could stimulate precipitation.

3. Who could benefit from extra rainfall created by cloud seeding?
Drought-affected farmers could benefit from extra rainfall created by cloud seeding.

4. What does solar geoengineering try to do with sunlight?
Solar geoengineering involves sunlight being reflected back to space to limit or reverse human-caused climate change.

5. How did one experiment try to use lasers to control thunderstorms?
One experiment involved firing laser pulses into thunderclouds in an attempt to suck out lightning in a controlled manner.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或片語來完成下列句子。

1. According to the weather forecast, we’re in for a wet spell, so I’m buying an umbrella.

2. Some say eating oranges will keep your cold at bay.

3. The rain is torrential – we can’t go out for a walk in this!

4. Water vapour in the air condenses and turns into fog.

5. The heat is extreme, so I’m staying indoors to keep cool.