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托福阅读背景知识:自然科学

2018-12-04 12:33 | |
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  我们在复习备考的过程中,多了解一些有关托福阅读的背景知识,可以辅助我们更好地理解文章原文。今天我们一起来学习的是关于“自然科学”的相关知识。

  Many of the most damaging and life-threatening types of weather-torrential rains, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes--begin quickly, strike suddenly, and dissipate rapidly, devastating small regions while leaving neighboring areas untouched. One such event, a tornado, struck the northeastern section of Edmonton, Alberta, in July 1987.、 Total damages from the tornado exceeded $250 million, the highest ever for any Canadian storm. Conventional computer models of the atmosphere have limited value in predicting short-lived local storms like the Edmonton tornado, because the available weather data are generally not detailed enough to allow computers to discern the subtle atmospheric changes that precede these storms. In most nations, for example, weather- balloon observations are taken just once every twelve hours at locations typically separated by hundreds of miles. With such limited data, conventional forecasting models do a much better job predicting general weather conditions over large regions than they do forecasting specific local events.

  Until recently, the observation-intensive approach needed for accurate, very short-range forecasts, or "Nowcasts," was not feasible. The cost of equipping and operating many thousands of conventional weather stations was prohibitively high, and the difficulties involved in rapidly collecting and processing the raw weather data from such a network were insurmountable. Fortunately, scientific and technological advances have overcome most of these problems. Radar systems, automated weather instruments, and satellites are all capable of making detailed, nearly continuous observation over large regions at a relatively low cost. Communications satellites can transmit data around the world cheaply and instantaneously, and modern computers can quickly compile and analyzing this large volume of weather information. Meteorologists and computer scientists now work together to design computer programs and video equipment capable of transforming raw weather data into words, symbols, and vivid graphic displays that forecasters can interpret easily and quickly. As meteorologists have begun using these new technologies in weather forecasting offices, Nowcasting is becoming a reality.

  Investigation of the Deep-Ocean

  Keywords: ocean, researchers, techniques, samples, rocks

  The ocean bottom ---- a region nearly 2.5 times greater than the total land area of the Earth ---- is a vast frontier that even today is largely unexplored and uncharted, until about a century ago, the deep-ocean floor was completely inaccessible, hidden beneath waters averaging over 3,600 meters deep. Totally without light and subjected to intense pressures hundreds of times greater than at the Earth's surface, the deep-ocean bottom is a hostile environment to humans, in some ways as forbidding and remote as the void of outer space.

  Although researchers have taken samples of deep-ocean rocks and sediments for over a century, the first detailed global investigation of the ocean bottom did not actually start until 1968, with the beginning of the National Science Foundation's Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP). Using techniques first developed for the offshore oil and gas industry. The DSDP's drill ship, the Glomar Challenger, was able to maintain a steady position on the ocean's surface and drill in very deep waters, extracting samples of sediments and rock from the ocean floor.

  The Glomar Challenger completed 96 voyages in a 15-year research program that ended in November 1983. During this time, the vessel logged 600,000 kilometers and took almost 20,000 core samples of seabed sediments and rocks at 624 drilling sites around the world. The Glomar Challenger's core samples have allowed geologists to reconstruct what the planet looked like hundreds of millions of years ago and to calculate what it will probably look like millions of years in the future. Today, largely on the strength of evidence gathered during the Glomar Challenger's voyages, nearly all earth scientists agree on the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift that explain many of the geological processes that shape the Earth.

  The cores of sediment drilled by the Glomar Challenger have also yielded information critical to understanding the world's past climates. Deep-ocean sediments provide a climatic record stretching back hundreds of millions of years, because they are largely isolated from the mechanical erosion and the intense chemical and biological activity that rapidly destroy much land-based evidence of past climates. This record has already provided insights into the patterns and causes of past climatic change---information that may be used to predict future climates.

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