II. Read the text and say if it answers the given questions: “What is global warming?” and “What is global warming doing to the environment?”

What is global warming? Global warming is when the earth heats up (the temperature rises). It happens when greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrous oxide, and methane) trap heat and light from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, which increases the temperature. This hurts many people, animals, and plants. Many cannot take the change, so they die.

What is global warming doing to the environment? Global warming is affecting many parts of the world. Global warming makes the sea rise, and when the sea rises, the water covers many low land islands. This is a big problem for many of the plants, animals, and people on islands. The water covers the plants and causes some of them to die. When they die, the animals lose a source of food, along with their habitat. Although animals have a better ability to adapt to what happens than plants do, they may die also. When the plants and animals die, people lose two sources of food, plant food and animal food. They may also lose their homes. As a result, they would also have to leave the area or die. This would be called a break in the food chain, or a chain reaction, one thing happening that leads to another and so on.

III. Study top ten effects of global warming and prepare for a discussion:

Top 10 Worst Effects of Global Warming

By Maria Trimarchi

Global warming is the long-term, cumulative effect that greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide and methane, have on Earth's temperature when they build up in the atmosphere and trap the sun's heat. It's also a hotly debated topic. Some wonder if it's really happening and, if it's real, is it the fault of human actions, natural causes or both?

When we talk about global warming, we're not talking about how this summer's temperatures were hotter than last year's. Instead, we're talking about climate change, changes that happen to our environment, atmosphere and weather over time. Think decades, not seasons. The term “global warming” itself is a bit deceptive because it implies we should expect things to get hotter -- not necessarily stormier, drier and even, in some instances, colder. Climate change impacts the hydrology and biology of the planet -- everything, including winds, rains and temperature, is linked. Scientists have observed that the Earth's climate has a long history of variability, from the cold climes of the Ice Age to temperatures as hot as an Easy-Bake oven. These changes are sometimes noted over a few decades and sometimes stretch over thousands of years. What can we expect from a planet undergoing climate changes?

Scientists studying our climate have been able to observe and measure changes happening around us. For example, mountain glaciers are smaller now than they were 150 years ago, and in the last 100 years, the average global temperature has increased by roughly 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degrees C). Computer modelling allows scientists to predict what could happen if the climate pattern continues on its current course, projecting, for instance, that temperatures could rise an average of 2 to 11.5 degrees F (1.1 to 6.4 degrees C) by the end of the 21st century [source: EPA].

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Global warming isn't just about things getting hotter -- other changes can occur, including stormier, drier and even, in some instances, colder conditions.

Rising Sea Level

Earth's hotter temperature doesn't necessarily mean the Miami lifestyle is moving to the Arctic, but it does mean rising sea levels. How are hotter temperatures linked to rising waters? Hotter temperatures mean ice -- glaciers, sea ice and polar ice sheets -- is melting, increasing the amount of water in the world's seas and oceans.

Scientists are able to measure that melt water from Greenland's ice cap directly impacts people in the United States: The flow of the Colorado River has increased sixfold [source: Scientific American]. And scientists project that as the ice shelves on Greenland and Antarctica melt, sea levels could be more than 20 feet (6 meters) higher in 2100 than they are today [source: An Inconvenient Truth]. Such levels would submerge many of Indonesia's tropical islands and flood low-lying areas such as Miami, New York City's Lower Manhattan and Bangladesh.

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You can't have as much fun in the sun when the beach is underwater. Miami, along with many other areas around the world, is threatened by rising oceans.

Shrinking Glaciers

You don't need special equipment to see that glaciers around the world are shrinking. Tundra once covered with thick permafrost is melting with rising surface temperatures and is now coated with plant life.

In the span of a century, glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park have deteriorated from 150 to just 35 [source: New York Times]. And the Himalayan glaciers that feed the Ganges River, which supplies drinking and irrigation water to 500 million people, are reportedly shrinking by 40 yards (37 meters) each year [source: The Washington Post]

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Montana's Glacier National Park will lose some of its majestic beauty as surface temperatures continue to rise.

Heat Waves

The deadly heat wave that swept across Europe in 2003, killing an estimated 35,000 people, could be the harbinger of an intense heat trend that scientists began tracking in the early 1900s [source: MSNBC].

Extreme heat waves are happening two to four times more often now, steadily rising over the last 50 to 100 years, and are projected to be 100 times more likely over the next 40 years [source: Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University]. Experts suggest continued heat waves may mean future increases in wildfires, heat-related illness and a general rise in the planet's mean temperature.

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Heat waves not only make it seem difficult to function, they can be deadly as well. This man tried to cool himself with a water bottle during a 2008 heat wave in New York City.

Storms and Floods

Experts use climate models to project the impact rising global temperatures will have on precipitation. However, no modelling is needed to see that severe storms are happening more frequently: In just 30 years the occurrence of the strongest hurricanes -- categories 4 and 5 -- has nearly doubled [source: An Inconvenient Truth].

Warm waters give hurricanes their strength, and scientists are correlating the increase in ocean and atmospheric temperatures to the rate of violent storms. During the last few years, both the United States and Britain have experienced extreme storms and flooding, costing lives and billions of dollars in damages. Between 1905 and 2005 the frequency of hurricanes has been on a steady ascent. From 1905 to 1930, there were an average of 3.5 hurricanes per year; 5.1 between 1931 and 1994; and 8.4 between 1995 and 2005 [source: USA Today]. In 2005, a record number of tropical storms developed, and in 2007, the worst flooding in 60 years hit Britain [sources: Reuters, Center for American Progress].

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Warmer waters increase the likelihood of violent storms. Hurricane Dolly swept over the Texas-Mexico border in July 2008.

Drought

While some parts of the world may find themselves deluged by increasing storms and rising waters, other areas may find themselves suffering from drought. As the climate warms, experts estimate drought conditions may increase by at least 66 percent [source: Scientific American]. An increase in drought conditions leads quickly to a shrinking water supply and a decrease in quality of agricultural conditions. This puts global food production and supply in danger and leaves populations at risk for starvation.

Today, India, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa already experience droughts, and experts predict precipitation could continue to dwindle in the coming decades. Estimates paint a dire picture. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that by 2020, from 75 to 250 million Africans may experience water shortages, and the continent's agricultural output will decrease by 50 percent [source: BBC].

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Worldwide droughts, like that in a village northeast of Nairobi, expose rural communities to food shortages.

Disease

Depending on where you live, you may use bug repellent to protect against West Nile virus or Lyme disease. But when was the last time you considered your risk of contracting dengue fever?

Warmer temperatures along with associated floods and droughts are encouraging worldwide health threats by creating an environment where mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other disease-carrying creatures thrive. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that outbreaks of new or resurgent diseases are on the rise and in more disparate countries than ever before, including tropical illnesses in once cold climates -- such as mosquitoes infecting Canadians with West Nile virus.

While more than 150,000 people die from climate change-related sickness each year, everything from heat-related heart and respiratory problems to malaria are on the rise [source: The Washington Post]. Cases of allergies and asthma are also increasing. How is hay fever related to global warming? Global warming fosters increased smog -- which is linked to mounting instances of asthma attacks -- and also advances weed growth, a bane for allergy sufferers.

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A field sample of mosquitoes that could carry West Nile virus pictured in California.

Conflicts and War

Declining amounts of quality food, water and land may be leading to an increase in global security threats, conflict and war.

National security experts analyzing the current conflict in Sudan's Darfur region suggest that while global warming is not the sole cause of the crisis, its roots may be traced to the impact of climate change, specifically the reduction of available natural resources [source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer]. The violence in Darfur broke out during a time of drought, after two decades of little-to-no rain along with rising temperatures in the nearby Indian Ocean.

Scientists and military analysts alike are theorizing climate change and its consequences such as food and water instability pose threats for war and conflict, suggesting that violence and ecological crises are entangled. Countries suffering from water shortages and crop loss become vulnerable to security trouble, including regional instability, panic and aggression.

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The conflict in Darfur has been partly blamed on stresses caused by global warming.

Loss of Biodiversity

Species loss and endangerment is rising along with global temperatures. As many as 30 percent of plant and animal species alive today risk extinction by 2050 if average temperatures rise more than 2 to 11.5 degrees F (1.1 to 6.4 degrees C) [sources: EPA, Scientific American]. Such extinctions will be due to loss of habitat through desertification, deforestation and ocean warming, as well as the inability to adapt to climate warming. Wildlife researchers have noted some of the more resilient species migrating to the poles, far north and far south to maintain their needed habitat; the red fox, for example, normally an inhabitant of North America, is now seen living in the Arctic.

Humans also aren't immune to the threat. Desertification and rising sea levels threaten human habitats. And when plants and animals are lost to climate change, human food, fuel and income are lost as well.

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The red fox has been affected by rising global temperatures.

Destruction of Ecosystems

Changing climatic conditions and dramatic increases in carbon dioxide will put our ecosystems to the test, threatening supplies of fresh water, clean air, fuel and energy resources, food, medicine and other matters we depend upon not just for our lifestyles but for our survival.

Evidence shows effects of climate change on physical and biological systems, which means no part of the world is spared from the impact of changes to land, water and life. Scientists are already observing the bleaching and death of coral reefs due to warming ocean waters, as well as the migration of vulnerable plants and animals to alternate geographic ranges due to rising air and water temperatures and melting ice sheets.

Models based on varied temperature increases predict scenarios of devastating floods, drought, wildfires, ocean acidification and eventual collapse of functioning ecosystems worldwide, terrestrial and aquatic alike.

Forecasts of famine, war and death paint a dire picture of climate change on our planet. Scientists are researching the causes of these changes the vulnerability of Earth not to predict the end of days but rather to help us mitigate or reduce changes that may be caused by humans. If we know and understand the problems and take action through adaptation, the use of more energy-efficient and sustainable resources and the adoption of other green ways of living, we may be able to make some impact on the climate change process.

II. Read the text and say if it answers the given questions: “What is global warming?” and “What is global warming doing to the environment?” - №10 - открытая онлайн библиотека

Coral bleaching is only a tangible aspect of global warming's effect on ecosystems.

IV. Questions for discussion:

1. What does the term “global warming” mean?

2. Computer modelling allows scientists to predict what could happen if the climate pattern continues on its current course, doesn’t it?

3. How are hotter temperatures linked to rising waters?

4. How does melt water from Greenland's ice cap impacts people in the United States?

5. Glaciers around the world are shrinking, aren’t they?

6. How did shrinking of glaciers affect Tundra?

7. Are extreme heat waves happening two to four times more often now?

8. What may continued heat waves mean, as experts suggest?

9. Can heat waves be deadly as well?

10. Are severe storms happening more frequently now?

11. Do warm waters give hurricanes their strength?

12. When did the worst flooding in 60 years hit Britain?

13. What does an increase in drought conditions lead to?

14. Which countries already experience droughts today?

15. How can warmer temperatures along with associated floods and droughts encourage worldwide health threats?

16. Does the World Health Organization (WHO) report that outbreaks of new or resurgent diseases are on the rise?

17. What may declining amounts of quality food, water and land be leading to?

18. How are violence and ecological crises entangled?

19. Is species loss and endangerment rising along with global temperatures?

20. How many plant and animal species alive today risk extinction by 2050?

21. What have wildlife researchers noted?

22. Humans also aren't immune to the threat, are they?

23. What kind of test will changing climatic conditions and dramatic increases in carbon dioxide put our ecosystems to?

24. Is any part of the world spared from the impact of changes to land, water and life?

25. What scenarios do models based on varied temperature increases predict to our planet?

26. What impact may we be able to make on the climate change process?

PART 3.

Environment

I.Read about environmental problems and be ready to discuss them with your group mates:

Environmental Problems

Environmental pollution is a term that refers to all the ways by which people pollute their surroundings. People dirty the air with gases and smoke, poison the water with chemicals and other substances, and damage the soil with too many fertilizers and pesticides. Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems facing humanity today. It causes global warming, destruction of the ozone layer, and other potentially disastrous processes. Air, water, and soil-all harmed by pollution-are necessary to the survival of all living things.

Air pollutionturns clear, odourless air into hazy, smelly air that harms health, kills plants, and damages property. People cause air pollution both outdoors and indoors. Outdoor air pollution results from pouring hundreds of millions of tons of gases and particulates(tiny particles of liquid or solid matter) into the atmosphere each year. One of the most common forms of out door air pollution is smog. Indoor air pollution results from many of the same substances found outdoors. But indoor pollutants can present a more serious problem because they tend to build up in a small area from which they cannot easily escape. Cigarette smoke is a familiar indoor air pollutant.

Most air pollution results from combustion (burning) processes. The burning of petrol to power motor vehicles and the burning of coal to heat buildings and help manufacture products are examples of such processes. Each time a fuel is burned in a combustion process, some type of pollutant is released into the air.

One serious result of air pollution is its harmful effect on human health. Both gases and particulates burn people's eyes and irritate their lungs. Air pollutants can also damage the earth's upper atmosphere and affect the climate. Both gases, particulates can cause changes in the average temperatures of an area. Some gases, including carbon dioxide, allow sunlight to reach the ground, but prevent the sunlight's heat from rising out of the atmosphere and flowing back into space. The warming of the earth's surface that results is called the greenhouse effect.

Water pollutionreduces the amount of pure, fresh water that is available for such necessities as drinking and cleaning, and for such activities as swimming and fishing. The pollutants that affect water come mainly fromindustries, farms, and sewerage systems. Industries dump huge amounts of wastes into bodies of water each year. These wastes include chemicals, wastes from animal and plant matter, and hundreds of other substances. Some of these wastes may be hazardous (harmful to human health). Industries dispose of much hazardous waste in disposal sites on land. But improperly managed sites may leak the wastes into underground water supplies that people use. Wastes from farms include animal wastes, fertilizers, and pesticides. Most of these materials drain off farm fields and into nearby bodies of water. Sewerage systems carry wastes from homes, offices, and industries into water. Nearly all cities have waste treatment plants that remove some of the most harmful wastes from sewage. But even most of the treated sewage contains material that harms water.

Soil pollution damages the thin layer of fertile soil that covers much of the earth's land and is essential for growing food. Natural processes took thousands of years to form the soil that supports crops. But, through careless treatment, people can destroy soil in a few years.

People use fertilizers and pesticides to grow more and better crops. Fertilizers add extra nutrients to the soil and increase the amount of a crop that can be grown on an area of land. But the use of large amounts of fertilizer may decrease the ability of bacteria to decay wastes and produce nutrients naturally. Pesticides destroy weeds and insects that harm crops. But pesticides may also harm helpful insects, worms and bacteria, and other helpful organisms in the soil.

Solid wastes are probably the most visible forms of pollution. People throw away billions of tons of solid material each year. Much of this waste ends up littering roadsides, floating in lakes and streams, and collecting in ugly dumps. Examples of solid wastes include abandoned cars, tyres, refrigerators, and cookers; cans arc other packaging materials; and scraps of metal, paper and plastic. Such solid pollutants are most common in the heavily populated areas in and near cities. Slag and other wastes from mining processes pollute much landaway from cities. Solid wastes present a serious problem because most of the methods used to dispose of them result in some type of damage to the environment.

Some things that pollute the environment cannot be classified as air, water, or soil pollutants, or as solid wastes. They travel through and affect various parts of the environment. These pollutants include noise, radiation, acid rain, pesticides, and such metals as mercury and lead.

Several different approaches can be used to control pollution. Waste products can be saved and used again. New technological developments can help prevent pollution from older ones. Restrictions can be placed on the use of materials that pollute. Scientists and engineers can work to find ways to lessen the amount of pollution that cars and factories cause. Governments can pass and enforce laws that require businesses and individuals to stop, or cut down on, certain polluting activities. And-perhaps most importantly-individuals and groups of people can work to persuade their representatives in government, and also persuade businesses, to take action toward reducing pollution.

The reprocessing of waste products for reuse is called recycling. Many kinds of wastes can be recycled. Some, including cans and newspapers, can be used over and over again for the same purposes. Cans can be melted down and used to make new cans. Old newspapers can be turned into pulp and then made into clean newsprint. Other materials, such as glass bottles and rubber tyres can be reused for other purposes. Ground-up glass can serve as an ingredient in road-building materials. Old tyres can be melted down in a special process in which they give off valuable chemicals, such as oil and gas.

II. Questions for discussion:

1. What is environmental pollution?

2. What causes most air pollution?

3. What does water pollution reduce?

4. May pesticides harm helpful organisms in the soil?

5. What are solid wastes?

6. How do plastics contribute to more than one kind of pollution?

7. What is recycling?

8. How can we reduce pollution?

9. What approaches can be used to control pollution?

10. What kinds of wastes can be recycled?