The 2003 Heatwave Reading Questions and Answers

The Blog post contains the following IELTS Reading Questions:

  • IELTS Reading Yes/No/Not Given
  • IELTS Reading Short Answer Questions
  • IELTS Reading Summary Completion
  • IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions

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IELTS Reading Passage – The 2003 Heatwave

The 2003 Heatwave

According to scientists, the summer was the time when global warming finally was extremely apparent. It was a fact known to us, that the summer of 2003 was exceptional: the record high temperature was experienced by the British, wild and uncontrollable forest fires were seen in continental Europe, a massive number of deaths caused by heat was observed, and large rivers dried up to a stream. However, it is only becoming evident how remarkable it is.

In western and central Europe, the warmest recorded months were June, July, and August. And the countries Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, and Britain had experienced record national highs in temperature. And they were very warm for a long period of time. The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia located in Norwich, which is considered to be one the world’s leading institutions for monitoring and analyzing temperature records; stated that a massive rectangular slab of earth from the west of Paris till northern Italy, including Switzerland and south of Germany, experienced an average temperature throughout the summer months above the long-term norm at 3.78°C.

Unless you are aware of the context, the excess may not seem like much, but once you are, you realize how huge it is. Nothing like this can be found anywhere in the past records. It is considered so remarkable that Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director, is willing to speak openly – as few scientists have previously done – that the 2003 extreme may be directly linked, not to natural climate variation, but to global warming caused by human actions.

Up until now, meteorologists have been satisfied with the statement that recent rising temperatures are “consistent with predictions” of climate change. The CRU has credible temperature records for the big section of the map, which covers the area between 35-50N and 0-20E, which date back to 1781. Using the average summer temperatures documented between 1961 and 1990 as a baseline, deviations from the temperature standard, or “anomalies,” over the entire block can be easily plotted. According to the graph, our climate is so variable that over the past two decades, there have been at least six anomalies in terms of extreme temperature, with the peaks on the curve representing extremely hot years with temperatures reaching or even exceeding 2°C. But nothing as close to 2003, when the anomaly was almost four degrees, has happened.

Professor Jones stated to The Independent, “It is seriously remarkable. In terms of statistics, it is extremely unusual. You wouldn’t get this number if this sequence had a normal statistical distribution. The return period [how frequently it could be predicted to happen] would be around one in a thousand years. If we examine an excess of nearly four degrees over the average, probably approximately three degrees of that is caused by natural variability because we have experienced that in past summers. However, the final degree of it is probably brought on by global warming, which is brought on by human activity.

In some ways, climate scientists have long expected the summer of 2003. Until now, global warming was most apparent in winters that have been milder than in summers that have been significantly hotter. The United Nations warned last week that winter sports will disappear in Europe’s lower-tier ski resorts because winters were warming very quickly. Nonetheless, the extremely hot summer had to come sooner or later, and it came this year.

The summer’s scorching nights, particularly during the first half of August, were one of its most dramatic features. Between August 7 – August 14, the temperatures in Paris didn’t drop under 23°C (73.4°F) at all. On August 11 and 12, the city experienced its warmest night on record when the temperature didn’t fall below 25.5°C (77.9°F). On 13 August, Germany experienced its warmest-ever night at Weinbiet in the Rhine Valley, with a minimum of 27.6°C (80.6°F), and identical record-breaking temperatures was observed in Switzerland and Italy.

The high night-time temperatures may be linked to the 15,000 excess deaths in August in France than in previous years. The number gradually increased during the period of the initial 12 days of the month, reaching a peak of about 2,000 per day on the nights of 12–13 August, before dropping down drastically once the minimum temperatures dropped by approximately 5°C on August 14. The mortality rate increased by 70% in people between the ages of 75 to 94, who were the most affected.

The year as a whole is probably going to be the warmest for Britain, but even with the high-temperature record on August 10, the summer itself, which is defined as the months of June, July, and August, still trails 1976 and 1995, which had extended periods of extreme heat. At this stage, this year is on the path to being the third hottest ever recorded for the period of the global temperature record, which goes back to 1856, behind 1998 and 2002, however, if the records for October, November, and December were combined, it might jump to second place, Professor Jones continued. All ten of the hottest years in history have now occurred since 1990. Professor Jones has no doubts about the incredible nature of the 2003 summer in Europe. He continued, that the recorded temperatures were completely disproportionate to the previous record. That was the hottest summer in the last 500 years and perhaps much beyond that. It was very extraordinary.

A special study about it is currently being planned by his colleagues at the University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Institute for Climate Change Research. The executive director of the center, Professor Mike Hulme, noted that this summer was unlike any other in terms of both the temperature extremes that were achieved and the variety and depth of the impacts of the extreme heat.

It will definitely have left its footprint on several countries, as to how they plan and strategize for climate change in the future, just as the 2000 floods have changed the way the Government is doing about flooding in the UK. Europe will experience similar effects from the 2003 heatwave.

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The 2003 Heatwave Reading Questions

Questions 1 – 6

Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer of Reading Passage? In boxes 1 – 6 on your answer sheet, write

YES if the statement agrees with the information
NO if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

  1. New high-altitude ski resorts are being built by governments.
  2. In major cities, the temperature is recorded twice a day.
  3. Human activity is causing global warming.
  4. Summer temperatures in 2003 were nearly 4 degrees more than in previous years.
  5. Jones thinks that temperature variation is within a normal range.
  6. Before 2003, there were milder winters instead of hotter summers.

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Questions 7 – 8

Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 7 – 8 on your answer sheet.

7. What else will affect governmental policies in the future, like the hot summer of 2003?
8. Apart from 2003, which were the two hottest years in Britain?

Questions 9 – 13

Complete the summary below using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 9 – 12 on your answer sheet.

9. The ten hottest years on record all happened after the year
10. Several thousand individuals lost their lives in the country of
11. The globe’s other two hottest years were
12. The temperature data was accumulated since

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Questions 13

Choose the correct letter A, B, C, or D. Write your answer in box 13 on your answer sheet.

13. Which of the following is the correct option for the title of this passage?

  • The Effects of Global Warming
  • That Hot Year in Europe
  • What Caused Global Warming
  • Global Warming

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The 2003 Heatwave Reading Answers

1. Not Given
2. Not Given
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. No
6. Yes
7. 2000 floods
8. 1976, 1995
9. 1990
10. France
11. 1998 and 2002
12. 1856
13. B


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