Even a quick glance at an atlas will show you just how big Russia is. For people who are not familiar with the country, it’s hard to imagine the distances involved. The city of Vladivostok on the east coast, famous for being the final stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway, is over 9,300 km from Moscow and is seven hours ahead. The total area of Russia is 17,075,200 square kilometers, which is over 130 times the size of England. Anyone interested in the weather will not be disappointed by the range of climates that Russia has to offer. You might expect the south of the country to be generally warmer, and you’d be right. Temperatures in the south average 20°C in the summer, and the record high is 38°C. And most people are aware of the fact that Siberia can be cold, with some areas covered with snow for half of the year, but do you know how cold? The record low is –94°C, recorded at Verkhoyansk.
The wind blows from the south in winter and the north in summer, except for in the Far East, where it’s the opposite way round. This area experiences monsoons and visitors need to be warned about the heavy rains, which can bring potentially dangerous floods.
The country is certainly not short of extremes of weather – but nothing prevents people from enjoying themselves, whatever the weather!
► How do you pronounce: glance, final, hour, area, half, monsoon, warn? Use a dictionary if necessary.
► Find in the text the words which have the same meaning as:
demonstrate, v group, n suggest, v
town, n pour, n
territory, n difficult, adj
3.17. Fill in the words in bold from the text above.
1. A bitter …….. …….. from the East.
2. During the …….. rains, the river is at its highest.
3. The …….. temperature in summer is 24°C.
4. The rainfall …….. 36 inches a year.
3.18. Describe the Siberian climate (or the climate of the area you live) using the phrases from the text.
3.19. Match the words with their definitions:
1. principal, adj a) change
2. variation, n b) to be more
3. rainfall, n c) most important
4. exceed, v d) changing into steam
5. evaporation, n e) affect
6. distinct, adj f) the amount of rain
7. survive, v g) the amount of rain, snow, etc. that falls
8. influence, v h) to live in spite of difficulties
9. precipitation, n i) clear
3.20. Read the text Types of Climate, then do the exercises after it.
TYPES OF CLIMATE
The present system of climate classification was devised in 1918 by Vladimir Köppen. The principal categories in the Köppen system are:
A)Tropical rainy climates. The average monthly temperature goes below 18°C (64.4°F) and there is little seasonal variation. Annual rainfall exceeds the water lost by evaporation.
B) Dry climates. The water lost by evaporation exceeds that brought by precipitation.
C) Warm temperature rainy climates. There are distinct summer and winter seasons, with the average temperature of the coldest month lower than 18°C (64.4°F) but higher than –3°C (26.6°F).
D) Cool snow-forest climates. The average temperature of the coldest month is lower than –3°C (26.6°F) and that of the warmest month is higher than 10°C (50°F).
E) Polar climates. The average temperature of the warmest month remains below 10°C (50°F). Trees do not survive in such climates.
The main influences on the climate are: distance from the Equator, distance from the ocean (it is drier inland), and the height above sea level (the higher you go, the colder it gets). Living things are greatly affected by the conditions around them. The temperature, rainfall and other aspects of the climate in an area influence the forms, growth and behaviour of the plants and animals found there.
3.21. Fill in the gaps with the word from the text in activity 3.20.
1. …….. classification 5. …….. temperature
2. …….. categories 6. …….. seasons
3. …….. variation 7. …….. level
4. …….. rainfall 8. …….. things
3.22. Are these statements true (T)or false (F)?
1. There are five principal types of climate.
2. The climate does not influence on different types of plant and animal kingdom.
3. Climates differ considerably around the world.
4. Temperature and precipitation are the most significant weather elements.
5. There is no winter in the tropics.
6. The polar regions have hardly any summer.
3.23. Match the words and phrases with their descriptions. Use a dictionary if necessary.
● Tropical forest –
a) extremes of temperature, little rain, scarcity of life
● Desert –
b) very cold, windy and treeless, little animal life.
● Deciduous forest –
c) hot summers, cold winters, open grassy plains, buffalo.
● Savannah –
d) warm summers, cold winters, mainly deciduous woodland (e.g. oak or beech), variety of animals.
●Coniferous forest –
e) cold all year, dominated by forests of conifers (e.g. spruce and pine), deer and wolves.
● Temperate grassland –
f) hot and wet, with a great diversity of life, e.g. monkeys and exotic birds.
● Tundra –
g) hot with wet winters, open plains with trees, antelopes.
3.24. Read the text Climate and do the exercises after it.
For the last hundred years the climate has been growing much warmer. This has had a number of different effects. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, glaciers have been melting very rapidly. For example, the Muir Glacier in Alaska has retreated two miles in ten years. Secondly, rising temperatures have been causing the snowline to retreat on mountains all over the world. In Peru, for example, it has risen as much as 2700 feet in 60 years.
As a result of this, vegetation has been changing. In Canada, the agricultural cropline has shifted 50 to 100 miles northward. In the same way cool-climate trees like birches and spruce have been dying over large areas of Eastern Canada. In Sweden the treeline has moved up the mountains by as much as 65 feet since 1930.
The distribution of wildlife has also been affected, many European animals moving northwards into Scandinavia. Since 1918, 25 new species of birds have been seen in Greenland, and in the United States birds have moved their nests to the north.
Finally, the sea has been rising at a rapidly increasing rate, largely due, as was mentioned above, to the melting of glaciers. In the last 18 years it has risen by about six inches, which is about four times the average rate of rise over the last 9000 years.
1. How have glaciers been melting?
a) slowly b) quickly c) annually
2. What does retreat mean?
a) to move rapidly b) to move slowly c) to move away from a position
3. Does vegetation refer to:
a) flora? b) fauna? c) water?
4. Where do wild animals in Europe move to?
a) east b) west c) north
5. Is Greenland washed by
a) the North Sea? b) the Baltic Sea? c) the Norwegian Sea?
6. What has been rising at a rapidly high rate?
a) water level b) temperature level c) sea level
7. What do climate changes affect?
a) glaciers melting b) trees moving up c) sea level rising
8. Which of the following best describes the main point of the text?
a) Everything around us is constantly changing.
b) The climate in different regions changes according to the season.
c) Natural climatic changes lead to dramatic effects.
9. Correspond the facts with the following numbers:
60 years / 100 miles / 65 feet / 25 species of birds / 6 inches / 9000 years
3.25. Read the following four texts and match them with the headings:
● Changes in Living Things ● Changes in Climate
● The Changing Landscape ● Threats of Climatic Changes
1) Natural climatic changes take place gradually over thousands of years and so are no great threat to us at present. Of far greater importance is the danger that our large-scale industrial activity is changing the earth’s climate. These changes will happen much more quickly and could well be much more dramatic. The greenhouse effect, smoke and dust clouds blocking out sunlight, and the destruction of the ozone layer are all real threats.
2) The climate in different regions of the world changes throughout the year, according to the season. This is because the earth’s axis is tilted whilst it travels around the sun. In tropical areas, with temperatures constant all year round, the amount of rainfall determines the season – dry or rainy. Further north and south, the climatic changes are much greater (especially in temperature), and there are four main seasons – winter, spring, summer and autumn.
3) The seasonal differences in climates result in many changes in living things. Many animals adapt their life cycles to the changes in temperature and availability of food. Some migrate to other areas, often hundreds of miles away, where conditions are more suitable for feeding or breeding, or both.
The Arctic seagull breeds in the summer on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, then flies 20,000 km to the Antarctic to feed during its summer. It travels over 40,000 km each year.
4) The changes made by man to the earth’s natural conditions can be seen all around us. In many places, farming, industry and urban developments have changed natural landscapes into man-made environments such as fields, towns and cities. Much of this has taken place over centuries, but increasing populations and industrialization in recent times have caused a dramatic increase in both the scale and intensity of these changes.
3.26. Are these statements true (T) or false (F)?
1. Industrial activity changes the earth’s climate.
2. Natural forces slowly change the face of the earth.
3. Animals can’t adapt to the changes in temperature.
4. Natural climatic changes refer to four main seasons.
5. Natural landscapes are changed by man into towns and cities.
3.27. Answer the following questions.
1. Why do animals migrate?
2. Why do birds migrate?
3. What are the real threats of the earth’s climate?
4. What seasons do you know? Are there all the seasons in your region? What is your favourite season and why?
5. What causes the intensity of the landscape changes?
6. Give one example of a changing landscape in your area.
3.28. Match the two parts of the sentences.
1. For billions of years great natural forces like the earth’s movement, volcanic activity and erosion
a) cause climatic variations.
2. The climate and the earth’s landscape interact
b) and are expected in the West Pacific.
3. The interaction of winds and ocean currents
c) to create the life-supporting soil.
4. The weathering effects of temperature, wind and water
d) have been reshaping the face of the earth.
5. Drought conditions now exist in Indonesia and Australia
e) and their distribution over our planet.
6. The major atmospheric elements are: latitude, land and water relationships, ocean currents,
f) climatic regions situated at the greatest distance from the equator.
7. The polar climates are the last of Köppen’s climatic subdivisions and they characterize
g) altitude, mountains and human activities.
8. Climatology is the study of the varieties of climates
h) break down the rocks on the earth’s surface.
3.29. Read the text below and find the words in the text which mean the following:
6. rays from the sun
7. make less extreme
3. height above sea level
8. situated very far from the sea
4. distance from the equator
9. differing weather conditions at
5. rain and snow
different times of the year
Schemes for dividing the Earth into climatic regions are based on a combination of indices of mean annual temperature, mean monthly temperature, annual precipitation totals and seasonality. The climate of a place is affected by several factors. Latitude affects the amount of solar radiation received, with the greatest in equatorial regions and the least in polar regions. Elevation affects both temperature and precipitation; mountainous areas are generally cooler and wetter. Location close to the sea or to large bodies of water moderates temperature; continental areas are generally more arid and more affected by extremes of temperature.