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[摘要] 本文主要是分享了朗阁对雅思阅读的预测,大家一起来看看吧。


Passage 2

Reclaiming the Future of Aral Sea


The Aral Sea gets almost all its water from the Amu and Syr rivers. Over millennium the Amu’s course has drifted away from the sea, causing it to shrink. But the lake always rebounded as the Amu shifted back again. Today heavy irrigation for crops such as cotton and rice siphons off much of the two rivers, severely cutting flow into their deltas and thus into the sea. Evaporation vastly outpaces any rainfall, snowmelt or groundwater supply, reducing water volume and raising salinity. The Soviet Union hid the sea’s demise for decades until 1985, when leader Mikhail Gorbachev-revealed the great environmental and human tragedy. By the late 1980s the sea’s level had dropped so much that the water had separated into two distinct bodies: the Small Aral (north) and the Large Aral (south). By 2007 the south had split into a deep western basin, a shallow eastern basin and a small, isolated gulf. The Large Aral's volume had dropped from 708 to only 75 cubic kilometers (km3), and salinity had risen from 14 to more than 100 grams per liter (g/l). The 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union divided the lake between newly formed Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, ending a grand Soviet plan to channel in water from distant Siberian rivers and establishing competition for the dwindling resource.


Desiccation of the Aral Sea has wrought severe consequences. Greatly reduced river flows ended the spring floods that sustained wetlands with freshwater and enriched sediment. Fish species in the lakes dropped from 32 to 6 because of rising salinity and loss of spawning and feeding grounds (most survived in the river deltas). Commercial fisheries, which caught 40,000 metric tons of fish in 1960, were gone by the mid-1980s; more than 60,000 related jobs were lost. The most common remaining lake occupant was the Black Sea flounder, a saltwater fish introduced in the 1970s, but by 2003 it had disappeared from the southern lakes because salinity was more than 70 g/l, double that of a typical ocean. Shipping on the Aral also ceased because the water receded many kilometers from the major ports of Aralsk to the north and Moynak in the south; keeping increasingly long channels open to the cities became too costly. Groundwater levels dropped with falling lake levels, intensifying desertification.


The receding sea has exposed and dried 54.000 square kilometers of seabed, which is choked with salt and in some places laced with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals deposited by runoff from area fanning. Strong windstorms blow salt, dust and contaminants as far as 500 km. Winds from the north and northeast drive the most severe storms, seriously impacting the Amu delta to the south - the most densely settled and most economically and ecologically important area in the region. Airborne sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate kill or retard the growth of natural vegetation and crops - a cruel irony given that irrigating those crops starves the sea. Health experts say the local population suffers from high levels of respiratory illnesses, throat and esophageal cancer, and digestive disorders caused by breathing and ingesting salt-laden air and water. Liver and kidney ailments, as well as eye problems, are common. The loss of fish has also greatly reduced dietary variety, worsening malnutrition and anemia, particularly in pregnant women.


Returning the entire Aral Sea to its 1960s stale is unrealistic. The annual inflow from the Syr and Amu rivers would have to be quadrupled from the recent average of 13 km3. The only means would be to curtail irrigation, which accounts for 92 percent of water withdrawals. Yet four of the five former Soviet republics in the Aral Sea basin (Kazakhstan is the exception) intend to expand irrigation, mainly to feed growing populations. Switching to less water- intensive crops, such as replacing cotton with winter wheat, could help, but the two primary irrigating nations, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, intend to keep cotton to earn foreign currency. The extensive irrigation canals could be greatly improved; many are simply cuts through sand, and they allow enormous quantities of water to seep away. Modernizing the entire system could save 12 km3 a year but would cost at least $16 billion. The basin states do not have the money or the political will. Kazakhstan has nonetheless tried to partially restore the northern Aral.


We expect salinities in the Small Aral to settle at three to 14 g/l, depending on location. At these levels many more indigenous species should return, although the saltwater kambala would disappear from most places. Further restoration is possible. For example, if irrigation improvements raised the average annual inflow from the Syr to 4.5 km3, which is entirely feasible, the lake's level could stabilize at about 47 meters. This change would bring the shoreline to within eight kilometers of Aralsk, the former major port city, close enough to allow recovery of an earlier channel that connected the city to the receding waters. The channel would give large commercial fishing vessels access to the sea, and shipping could restart. Marshlands and fish populations would improve even more because of a further reduction in salinity. Outflow to the southern lakes could also increase, helping their restoration. Such a plan would require a much longer and higher dike, as well as reconstruction of the gate facility, and it is not clear that Kazakhstan has the means or desire to pursue it. The country is, however, now discussing more modest proposals to bring water closer to Aralsk.


The Large Aral faces a difficult future; it continues to shrink rapidly. Only a long, narrow channel connects the shallow eastern basin and the deeper western basin, and this could close altogether. If countries along the Amu make no changes, we estimate that at current rates of groundwater in and evaporation out, an isolated eastern basin would stabilize at an area of 4,300 square kilometers (km2). But it would average only 2.5 meters deep. Salinity would exceed 100 g/l, possibly reaching 200 g/l; the only creatures that could live in it would be brine shrimp and bacteria. The western basin’s fate depends on ground- water inflow, estimates for which arc uncertain. Someone has noted numerous fresh-water springs on the western cliffs. The most reliable calculations indicate that the basin would settle at about 2,100 km2. The lake would still be relatively deep, reaching 37 meters in spots, but salinity would rise well above 100 g/l.

Questions 14-19

The reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-F.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-F, in boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet.

NB  You may use any letter more than once.

14 A mission impossible

15 An extremely worrying trend for one main part of Aral Sea

16 An uncompleted project because of political reasons

17 A promising recovery in the future

18 A strongly affected populated district

19 The disclosure of a big secret



Questions 21-22

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 2?

In boxes 20-22 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE if the statement is true

FALSE if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN if the information is not given in the passage

20 In response to the increasingly growing number in the population, not all nations near the Aral Sea consider plans which will enhance the severity of the problems the Aral Sea is faced with.

21 The willingness for Kazakhstan to take the restoration action to save the Small Aral Sea is somehow not certain.

22 The western basin seems to have a destined future regardless of the influx of the groundwater.



Questions 23-26


Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of Reading Passage, using No More than Three words from the Reading Passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 23-26 on your answer sheet.

The 23................. produced by the flood waters, which were ceased because of the decrease in 24.................. of the Aral Sea, are main sources to keep the survival of the wetlands. The types of fishes living in it experienced a devastating tragedy out of the increase in 25................... and decrease in spots for 26................... with a good example of the extinction of a specific fish. What is more, fisheries and shipping suffered greatly from these vast changes.


Answer Key

14 D

15 F

16 A

17 E

18 C

19 A




23 freshwater and sediment

24 river flows

25 salinity

26 spawning and feeding

Wealth in a cold climate


Dr William Masters was reading a book about mosquitoes when inspiration struck. “There was this anecdote about the great yellow fever epidemic that hit Philadelphia in 1793,” Masters recalls. “This epidemic decimated the city until the first frost came.” The inclement weather froze out the insects, allowing Philadephia to recover.


If weather could be the key to a city’s fortunes, Masters thought, then why not to the historical fortunes of nations? And could frost lie at the heart of one of the most enduring economic mysteries of all - why are almost all the wealthy, industrialised nations to be found at latitudes above 40 degrees? After two years of research, he thinks that he has found a piece of the puzzle. Masters, an agricultural economist from Purdue University in Indiana, and Margaret McMillan at Tufts University, Boston, show that annual frosts are among the factors that distinguish rich nations from poor ones. Their study is published this month in the Journal of Economic Growth. The pair speculates that cold snaps have two main benefits - they freeze pests that would otherwise destroy crops, and also freeze organisms, such as mosquitoes, that carry disease. The result is agricultural abundance and a big workforce.


The academics took two sets of information. The first was average income for countries, the second climate data from the University of East Anglia. They found a curious tally between the sets. Countries having five or more frosty days a month are uniformly rich; those with fewer than five are impoverished. The authors speculate that the five-day figure is important; it could be the minimum time needed to kill pests in the soil. Masters says: “For example, Finland is a small country that is growing quickly, but Bolivia is a small country that isn’t growing at all. Perhaps climate has something to do with that.” In fact, limited frosts bring huge benefits to farmers. The chills kill insects or render them inactive; cold weather slows the break-up of plant and animal material in the soil, allowing it to become richer; and frosts ensure a build-up of moisture in the ground for spring, reducing dependence on seasonal rains. There are exceptions to the “cold equals rich” argument. There are well-heeled tropical countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore (both city-states, Masters notes), a result of their superior trading positions. Likewise, not all European countries are moneyed - in the former communist colonies, economic potential was crushed by politics.


Masters stresses that climate will never be the overriding factor - the wealth of nations is too complicated to be attributable to just one factor. Climate, he feels, somehow combines with other factors - such as the presence of institutions, including governments, and access to trading routes - to determine whether a country will do well. Traditionally, Masters says, economists thought that institutions had the biggest effect on the economy, because they brought order to a country in the form of, for example, laws and property rights. With order, so the thinking went, came affluence. “But there are some problems that even countries with institutions have not been able to get around,” he says. “My feeling is that, as countries get richer, they get better institutions. And the accumulation of wealth and improvement in governing institutions are both helped by a favourable environment, including climate.”


This does not mean, he insists, that tropical countries are beyond economic help and destined to remain penniless. Instead, richer countries should change the way in which foreign aid is given. Instead of aid being geared towards improving governance, it should be spent on technology to improve agriculture and to combat disease. Masters cites one example: “There are regions in India that have been provided with irrigation - agricultural productivity has gone up and there has been an improvement in health.” Supplying vaccines against tropical diseases and developing crop varieties that can grow in the tropics would break the poverty cycle.


Other minds have applied themselves to the split between poor and rich nations, citing anthropological, climatic and zoological reasons for why temperate nations are the most affluent. In 350BC, Aristotle observed that “those who live in a cold climate... are full of spirit”. Jared Diamond, from the University of California at Los Angeles, pointed out in his book Guns, Germs and Steel that Eurasia is broadly aligned east-west, while Africa and the Americas are aligned north-south. So, in Europe, crops can spread quickly across latitudes because climates are similar. One of the first domesticated crops, einkorn wheat, spread quickly from the Middle East into Europe; it took twice as long for corn to spread from Mexico to what is now the eastern United States. This easy movement along similar latitudes in Eurasia would also have meant a faster dissemination of other technologies such as the wheel and writing, Diamond speculates. The region also boasted domesticated livestock, which could provide meat, wool and motive power in the fields. Blessed with such natural advantages, Eurasia was bound to take off economically.


John Gallup and Jeffrey Sachs, two US economists, have also pointed out striking correlations between the geographical location of countries and their wealth. They note that tropical countries between 23.45 degrees north and south of the equator are nearly all poor. In an article for the Harvard International Review, they concluded that “development surely seems to favour the temperate-zone economies, especially those in the northern hemisphere, and those that have managed to avoid both socialism and the ravages of war”. But Masters cautions against geographical determinism, the idea that tropical countries are beyond hope: “Human health and agriculture can be made better through scientific and technological research,” he says, “so we shouldn’t be writing off these countries. Take Singapore: without air conditioning, it wouldn’t be rich.”

Questions 14-20

The reading passage has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-G from the list below.

Write the correct number, i-xi, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i The positive correlation between climate and country

ii The wealth influenced by other factors besides climate

iii The inspiration from reading a book

iv Other researcher results still do not rule out exceptional cases

v Eruasia has different attributes with Africa

vi Low temperature may benefit people and crop

vii The traditional view reflecting the importance of institution

viii The best result to use aid which makes a difference

ix The spread of crop in European and other courtiers

x confusions and exceptional cases such as Singapore




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