The Gulf stream and Global warming Reading Questions and Answers

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  • IELTS Reading True/False/Not given 
  • IELTS Reading Flow chart Completion
  • IELTS Reading Multiple choice questions

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IELTS Reading Passage: The gulf stream and global warming

The gulf stream and global warming

Labrador and London lie at around the exact latitude, but Labrador is cold and contains only 30 miles of paved roadways while London is one of the main centers of civilization. Why do two places, equidistant from the Arctic Circle, have such disparate climates? The Gulf Stream that flows by the British Isles creates all the distinction: Its warm waters cause northwestern Europe so much with life that palm trees can actually grow on the southern shores of England.

The warm, salty Gulf Stream that flows from the Caribbean up the Atlantic coast of the United States and then turns northward into Europe is essential to marine life. When this water is exposed to the sun’s heat in the tropics, it evaporates at a faster pace, making the water saltier. Along its course, the Gulf Stream splits into several branches, although the majority of its water flows north and east. The Gulf Stream warms the atmosphere as it passes Europe, and the prevailing westerly winds transport this air across all of northwestern Europe, making it a prime location for intensive agriculture. Because of the Gulf Stream, Europe can sustain its rapidly expanding population.

Most of the heat from the Gulf Stream dissipates as it reaches southeast Greenland and western Iceland, and the colder, denser water subsequently sink. In as many as seven huge vortices, or chimneys, the majority of the Gulf Stream is funnelled downward towards the ocean floor. They act like a vacuum, sucking water from the Gulf Stream to depths of nearly a mile, where it is absorbed by yet another whirling ocean current. About two miles below the ocean’s surface, this icy water current moves in the opposite direction, from north to south. As the water nears the equator is warmed, it rises from the depths to meet the water moving north from the surface. Fish and other marine organisms benefit from this upwelling because it replenishes their food supply with minerals and food from the trash at the ocean’s bottom.

The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt describes the flow of warm water along the ocean’s surface and cold water down the ocean floor. To keep the planet habitable, ocean currents have played a crucial role in maintaining a steady temperature distribution. The North Atlantic Currents are connected to the rest of the Great Conveyor Belt that circulates throughout the world’s oceans. Of all parts of this worldwide stream, the North Atlantic is the one with the least consistency. Most prone to change is the Gulf Stream.

Computer models are used to predict the impacts of global warming on the Gulf Stream, and these models produce results that vary. But, there are a number of key details that are already known. Formerly, as many as seven chimneys drew Gulf Stream water down into the ocean floor south of Greenland. Throughout the final few years, there was only one left, and in 2007, it vanished. Fresh water from melting glaciers may have contributed to the death of the chimneys. In recent winters, fresh water has been pumped into the oceans at unprecedented rates as glaciers have melted. The saltiness of the Gulf Stream is reduced as fresh water from rivers and larger amounts of glacier melt in the North Atlantic mingle with it. As a result of its lower density compared to saltwater, fresh water does not sink, hindering the process by which the chimneys are naturally formed. The Gulf Stream has slowed as the chimneys have been demolished. Around six million tonnes of water flow per second are being lost due to the breakdown of the Gulf Stream, which means that only about 70 percent of the water that once reached Europe now does so. Reduced nutrient circulation in the ocean occurs when the slow, cold water from the lower half of the conveyor belt does not rise due to a weak Gulf Stream. This exacerbates the warming problem because less carbon dioxide is being removed from the atmosphere by the syphoning of surface water into the depths of the ocean.

Historically, there have been temperature fluctuations on a global scale, as evidenced by changes in ocean sediments and glacial cores. A dip of around 5 degrees Celsius in average temperature brought on the previous Ice Age, when glaciers 2 miles thick covered much of North America and northern Europe. Twenty thousand years ago, that ice age finally melted away. Much of Europe was affected by the last “Little Ice Age,” which saw average temperatures dip by only 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Gulf Stream dropped to around 50% of its normal speed at that time.

Temperature increases have been sudden, as seen by core samples, rather than gradual. Little time would be given to adapt to the catastrophic shifts that would occur as a result of the Gulf Stream’s decrease. The good news is that one of the chimneys off southeastern Greenland unexpectedly resumed activity in the winters of 2008 and 2009, allowing the Gulf Stream waters to sink deep enough to be captured in the conveyor and so maintaining the circulation of ocean currents in the North Atlantic.

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The gulf stream and global warming Reading Questions

Questions     1-3

Do the following statements reflect the opinion of the writer of Reading Passage? In boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE if the statement reflects the opinion of the writer
FALSE if the statement contradicts the opinion of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this 

1.  As a result  of the favourable climate provided by the Gulf Stream, the southern coast of England is home to palm trees.
2. Exposure to the sun’s heat in the tropics causes this water to evaporate at a faster rate, increasing its salt content.
3. Experts are not sure about the causes of Global warming.

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Questions     4-9

The flow chart below shows a possible effect of global warming on the Gulf Stream. Complete the flowchart using the list of words below.

4. Glaciers   ———————–                
5.   The ocean becomes    _____________                 
6. The water doesn’t     _____________                 
7. The Gulf stream current is     _____________                             
8. The cold water at the southern end doesn’t     ______________                            
9.  There is less ____________ available for sea life

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Questions 10 -13

Multiple choice questions Write the correct letter> A, B, or C, on lines 10—13 on your answer sheet.

10. Labrador and London are similar in some ways.A.climate.B.distance from the North Pole.C.abundance of wildlife.
11. Because Europe can support a large population, has a lot of fresh is at the proper has a good climate for farming.
12. The Gulf Stream sinks when it reaches the North Atlantic has become has become less is blown by the winds.
13. Ocean currents contribute to the possibility of life on Earth becauseA.enable marine life to travel.B.maintain suitable temperatures.C.regulate glacial melt.

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The gulf stream and global warming reading answers

1.  False
2. True
3. Not given
4. Thaw
5. Less salty
6. Sink
7. Weekended
8. Rise
9.  Food
10. B
11. C
12. A
13. B


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