Monday, 24 October 2011

Objective Proficiency p 24. The Weather and Climate Change. Extra Speaking

1. MONOLOGUE. Prepare a talk of AT LEAST 5 minutes on the subject. You may use the pictures above and the contents below if you wish:

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."

  -Thomas Edison (1847–1931) American inventor and businessman.-

How does climate change cause extreme weather? Are those who downplay climate change clutching at straws with no evidence to back their claim? Do people who claim that climate change is a hoax have an axe to grind? To what extent are wind turbines and solar panels the answer to climate change? Would you mind having an offshore wind farm near Mallorca?  What other sources of renewable energy do you know? What else could be done  to address the threat of climate change? Should we let nature take its course? Do you think we are going to weather the storm?

You may make some notes for your talk to take into the exam. These should not exceed five lines.


In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about issues related to the TOPIC. Remember that you are expected to have a conversation as natural as possible and give full answers. This part of the examination will last AT LEAST 5 minutes. You will not see the questions below.



1.  Comment on the pictures and relate them to the topic of the weather and climate change. 

2. What precautions /prɪˈkɔːʃnz/ do you take when gales are expected in your area? 
3. What is your opinion about tourists who lie basking in the bright sunshine for a long time in the summer?
4. Describe how the effects of a storm surge can impact the lives of the people living in your area and the economy of the community.
5. Do you find the sound of wind howling, thunder rumbling and lightning striking eerie? Do you have an anecdote? 
6. Do you know anyone who goes swimming in all weathers? How do you think it feels? What do you do, come rain or shine?
7. Have you ever been disappointed by a fair-weather friend?
8. Tell us about the last time you felt under the weather

Part 1 Pictures
  • Weather forecast: a description, for example on the radio or television, of what the weather will be like tomorrow or for the next few days. E.g. There's a good weather forecast for tomorrow.
  • Forecaster /ˈfɔːkɑːstə(r)/ a person who says what is expected to happen, especially somebody whose job is to forecast the weather. E.g. a weather forecaster. An economic forecaster.
  • Weatherman (pl. weathermen)/ weathergirl: a person on radio or television whose job is describing the weather and telling people what it is going to be like.
  • Weather map: a map showing the weather conditions over a large area at a particular time.

  • The after-effects of the storm could prove to be more serious than previously thought.
  • flatten something to destroy or knock down a building, tree, etc. E.g. Most of the factory was flattened by the explosion.
  • Aftermath /ˈɑːftəmæθ/ the situation that exists as a result of an important (and usually unpleasant) event, especially a war, an accident, etc. Sp. tras, repercusiones. E.g. A lot of rebuilding took place in the aftermath of the war. The assassination of the Prime Minister and its immediate aftermath. 
  • Clear-up (the process of removing rubbish and tidying things. E.g. a massive clear-up operation)
  • Death toll the number of people killed in an accident, a war, a disaster, etc. E.g. The death toll has now risen to 200
  • Debris /ˈdeɪbriː/ /ˈdebriː/ pieces of wood, metal, brick, etc. that are left after something has been destroyed. Sp. escombros, restos. E.g. Emergency teams are still clearing the debris from the plane crash. Several people were injured by flying debris in the explosion.
  • Wreckage:  /ˈrekɪdʒ/ the parts of a vehicle, building, etc. that remain after it has been badly damaged or destroyed. E.g. A few survivors were pulled from the wreckage. Pieces of wreckage were found ten miles away from the scene of the explosion.
  • freak: /friːk/ (adj) 1. (of an event or the weather) very unusual and unexpected. E.g. a freak accident/ storm/ occurrence. Freak weather conditions. A freak storm (Sp. una tormenta inesperada). 
  • freak (n) 1. a person with a very strong interest in a particular subject. E.g. a health/fitness/jazz, etc. freak. 2. a person who is considered to be unusual because of the way they behave, look or think. E.g. She was treated like a freak because she didn't want children. He's going out with a real freak.
  • quirky: (adj) (of an aspect of somebody's personality or behaviour) a little strange. Peculiar. E.g. a quirky sense of humour. 
  • erratic:  /ɪˈrætɪk/ not happening at regular times; not following any plan or regular pattern; that you cannot rely on. E.g. Irrigation measures will be necessary in areas of erratic rainfall. Erratic weather. The electricity supply here is quite erratic.
  • The elements [plural] the weather, especially bad weather. E.g. Are we going to brave the elements and go for a walk? To be exposed to the elements. Rock climbers sometimes have to battle the elements in order to reach the summit
  • make landfall 

  • blizzard: a snowstorm with very strong winds. Sp. ventisca, tormenta de nieve. E.g. blizzard conditions. The blizzard was still raging outside. The storm is unleashing blizzard conditions in parts of the country. 
  • unleash /ʌnˈliːʃ / something (on/upon somebody/something) to suddenly let a strong force, emotion, etc. be felt or have an effect. Sp. soltar, desencadenar, desatar. E.g. The government's proposals unleashed a storm of protest in the press.
  • Brass monkeys/ brass monkey weather (British English, slang) if you say that it is brass monkeys or brass monkey weather, you mean that it is very cold weather. 
  • Cold snap: a sudden short period of very cold weather.
  • wrap up | wrap somebody up | wrap yourself up to put warm clothes on somebody/yourself. E.g. She told them to wrap up warm/warmly. 
  • wellington: (also welly) one of a pair of long rubber boots, usually reaching almost up to the knee, that you wear to stop your feet getting wet. E.g. a pair of wellingtons/ wellies.
  • Drought: /draʊt/ a long period of time when there is little or no rain. E.g. two years of severe drought. One of the worst droughts on record. The country's entire grain harvest has been hit by drought. 
  • Weather-beaten: (especially of a person or their skin) rough and damaged because the person spends a lot of time outside. E.g. The weather-beaten face of an old sailor.
  • Heatwave: /ˈhiːtweɪv/ a period of unusually hot weather.
Part 1. Questions
  • Tackle something to make a determined effort to deal with a difficult problem or situation. E.g. The government is determined to tackle inflation. I think I'll tackle the repairs next weekend. Firefighters tackled a blaze in a garage last night.
  • Downplay something: to make people think that something is less important than it really is. Play down. E.g. The coach is downplaying the team's poor performance.
  • Clutch at straws: to try all possible means to find a solution or some hope in a difficult or unpleasant situation, even though this seems very unlikely. Aferrarse desesperadamente a una esperanza. E.g. I know I'm just clutching at straws here, but is it possible that the doctors are wrong? They were really clutching at straws when they observed animal and bird behaviour and linked it to the weather. 
  • hoax  /həʊks/ an act intended to make somebody believe something that is not true, especially something unpleasant. Sp. engaño, fraude. E.g. a bomb hoax. Hoax calls. The emergency call turned out to be a hoax.
  • have an axe to grind: to have private reasons for being involved in something or for arguing for a particular cause. E.g. She had no axe to grind and was only acting out of concern for their safety. These criticisms are commonly voiced by those who have some political axe to grind.
  • Wind turbine: /ˈwɪnd tɜːbaɪn/ a type of modern windmill used for producing electricity.
  • Solar panel: a piece of equipment on a roof that uses light and heat energy from the sun to produce hot water and electricity.
  • Offshore: happening or existing in the sea, not far from the land. E.g. offshore drilling. An offshore island
  • Wind farm: an area on which there are a lot of windmills or wind turbines for producing electricity.
  • Renewable energy: is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat, which are renewable.
  • Water power: power produced by the movement of water, used to drive machinery or produce electricity.
  • Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of power that converts the energy of tides into useful forms of power - mainly electricity.
  • Wave power: power extracted from the motion of sea waves at the coast.
  • Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth.
  • Address: to think about a problem or a situation and decide how you are going to deal with it. E.g.  Address something. Your essay does not address the real issues. Address yourself to something We must address ourselves to the problem of traffic pollution.
  • Curb something: /kɜːb/ to control or limit something, especially something bad. E.g. Curb air pollution. Curb water pollution.
  • Reduce (the size of) your carbon footprint: a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by the daily activities of a person or company. E.g. Flying is the biggest contribution to my carbon footprint. An analysis of the carbon footprints of leading companies. Companies are measuring their carbon footprints.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions  /iˈmɪʃnz/
  • Preserve natural resources
  • Protect endangered species
  • Prevent/ stop soil erosion/ overfishing/ massive deforestation/ damage to ecosystems
  • Raise awareness of environmental issues 
  • Use recycled/ recyclable/ biodegradable material
  • Recycle bottles/ packaging/ paper/ plastic/ waste
  • Promote/ encourage recycling/ sustainable development/ the use of renewable energy.  
  • Develop/ invest in/ promote renewable energy
  • Reduce your dependence/ reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Get/ obtain/ generate/ produce electricity from wind, solar and wave power/ renewable sources. Build/ develop a (50-megawatt /ˈmeɡəwɒt/ /offshore) wind farm.
  • Install solar panels. 
  • Run/take its course: to develop in the usual way and come to the usual end. E:g. When her tears had run their course, she felt calmer and more in control. With minor ailments the best thing is often to let nature take its course.
  • Weather something to come safely through a difficult period or experience. E.g. The company just managed to weather the recession. She refuses to resign, intending to weather the storm (= wait until the situation improves again).
  • depletion: /dɪˈpliːʃn/ the reduction of something by a large amount so that there is not enough left. Sp. disminución, reducción. E.g. ozone depletion. The depletion of the ozone layer ( destrucción de la capa de ozono). The depletion of fish stocks.
  • renewable: (of energy and natural resources) that is replaced naturally or controlled carefully and can therefore be used without the risk of finishing it. E.g. all renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power.
  • renewables (N) (plural) (Renewables are more commonly referred to as renewable energy (sources))types of energy that can be replaced naturally such as energy produced from wind or water. E.g. renewables such as hydro-electricity and solar energy. Investment in renewables
  • non-renewable: (of natural resources such as gas or oil) that cannot be replaced after use the need to protect. E.g. non-renewable resources. Non-renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels are non-renewable and rapidly running out. 
  • sustainable: involving the use of natural products and energy in a way that does not harm the environment. E.g. sustainable forest management. An environmentally sustainable society.
  • unsustainable: that cannot be continued at the same level, rate, etc. E.g. unsustainable growth.
  • infinite: /ˈɪnfɪnət/ without limits; without end. E.g. infinite sources of energy.
  • finite: /ˈfaɪnaɪt/  having a definite limit or fixed size. E.g. a finite number of possibilities. The world's resources are finite.
 Part 2
  • Gale: an extremely strong wind. E.g. The gale blew down hundreds of trees. Gale-force winds. It's blowing a gale outside (= a strong wind is blowing).
  • Bask (in something): to enjoy sitting or lying in the heat or light of something, especially the sun. Sp. disfrutar del sol. E.g. We sat basking in the warm sunshine. A cat was basking on the windowsill.
  • Sun yourself to sit or lie in a place where the sun is shining on you. E.g. We lay sunning ourselves on the deck. 
  • Sunbathe to sit or lie in the sun, especially in order to go brown (get a suntan). E.g. We spent the day sunbathing and swimming.
  • Storm surge: a rising of the sea as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and wind associated with a storm. 
  • Howl: /haʊl/ (of the wind) to blow hard and make a long loud noise. Sp. aullar. E.g. The wind was howling around the house.
  • Rumble /ˈrʌmbl/ (V) to make a long deep sound or series of sounds. E.g. The machine rumbled as it started up. Thunder rumbling in the distance.
  • rumble (of something) (N) a long deep sound or series of sounds. E.g. the rumble of thunder
  • Clap: a sudden loud noise. E.g. a clap of thunder.
  • bolt/ flash of lightning a sudden flash of lightning in the sky, appearing as a line.
  • Lightning strike:  an incident in which lightning hits somebody/something.
  • Eerie strange, mysterious and frightening. E.g. I found the silence underwater really eerie.  
  • In all weathers: (British English) in all kinds of weather, good and bad. E.g. She goes out jogging in all weathers. They work outdoors in all weathers.
  • Come rain, come shine |(come) rain or shine whether there is rain or sun; whatever happens. E.g. He goes jogging every morning, rain or shine.
  • Fair-weather behaving in a particular way or doing a particular activity only when it is pleasant for them. E.g. a fair-weather friend (= somebody who stops being a friend when you are in trouble)  
  • Under the weather: (informal) if you are or feel under the weather, you feel slightly ill/ sick and not as well as usual.
Other words and expressions
freak: (of an event or the weather) very unusual and unexpected. E.g. a freak accident/storm/occurrence. freak weather conditions.

/ˈrəʊʃəs/ very aggressive or violent; very strong. E.g. a ferocious beast/attack/storm. a man driven by ferocious determination. ferocious opposition to the plan.

/ɪˈrætɪk/ not happening at regular times; not following any plan or regular pattern; that you cannot rely.  unpredictable. E.g. The electricity supply here is quite erratic. She had learnt to live with his sudden changes of mood and erratic behaviour. Mary is a gifted but erratic player (= she does not always play well). Irrigation measures will be necessary in areas of erratic rainfall. their increasingly erratic policy decisions.

harness something to control and use the force or strength of something to produce power or to achieve something. E.g. attempts to harness the sun’s rays as a source of energy. We must harness the skill and creativity of our workforce. How can this energy be harnessed effectively for the good of humankind? They are attempting to harness the power of the sun.  

batten down the hatches: to prepare yourself for a period of difficulty or trouble. E.g. A natural tendency in times of recession is to batten down the hatches and think about our own needs. 

brace somebody/yourself (for something) | brace somebody/yourself (to do something) to prepare somebody/yourself for something difficult or unpleasant that is going to happen. E.g. UN troops are braced for more violence. They are bracing themselves for a long legal battle. 

hunker down: to prepare yourself to stay somewhere, keep an opinion, etc. for a long time. E.g. We were told to hunker down during the storm. 

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