IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 77

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Antarctica - in from the cold?

A little over a century ago, an expedition led by Scott, Shackleton and Mawson bravely battled against Antarctica’s blizzards, cold and deprivation. In the name of Empire and in an age of heroic deeds they created an image of Antarctica that was to last well into the 20th century—an image of remoteness, hardship, bleakness and isolation that was the province of only the most courageous of men. The image was one of a place removed from everyday reality, of a place with no apparent value to anyone.

As we enter the 21st century, our perception of Antarctica has changed. Although physically Antarctica is no closer and probably no warmer, and to spend time there still demands a dedication not seen in ordinary life, the continent and its surrounding ocean are increasingly seen to be an integral part of planet earth, and a key component in the earth’s ecosystem. Is this because the world seems a little smaller these days, shrunk by TV and tourism, or is it because Antarctica really does occupy a central spot on Earth’s mantle? Scientific research during the past half century has revealed—and continues to reveal—that Antarctica's great mass and low temperature exert a major influence on climate and ocean circulation, factors which influence the lives of millions of people all over the globe.

Antarctica was not always cold. The slow break-up of the super-continent Gondwana with the northward movements of Africa, South America, India and Australia eventually created enough space around Antarctica for the development of an Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), that flowed from west to east under the influence of the prevailing westerly winds. Antarctica cooled, its vegetation perished, glaciation began, and the continent took on its present-day appearance. Today the ice that overlies the bedrock is up to 4km thick, and surface temperatures as low as -89.2deg C have been recorded. The icy blast that howls over the ice cap and out to sea—the so-called katabatic wind—can reach 300 km/hr, creating fearsome wind-chill effects.

Out of this extreme environment come some powerful forces that reverberate around the world. The Earth’s rotation, coupled to the generation of cells of low pressure off the Antarctic coast, allow astronauts in space a view of Antarctica that is as beautiful as it is awesome. Spinning away to the northeast, the cells grow and deepen, whipping up the Southern Ocean into the mountainous seas so respected by mariners. Recent work shows that the temperature of the ocean may be a better predictor of rainfall in Australia than is the pressure difference between Darwin and Tahiti, the Southern Oscillation Index. By receiving more accurate predictions, graziers in northern Queensland are able to avoid overstocking in years when rainfall will be poor. Not only does this limit their losses but it prevents serious pasture degradation that may take decades to repair. CSIRO is developing this as a prototype forecasting system, but we can confidently predict that as we know more about the Antarctic and Southern Ocean we will be able to enhance and extend our predictive ability.

The ocean’s surface temperature results from the interplay between deep-water temperature, air temperature and ice. Each winter between 4 and 19 million square km of sea ice form, locking up huge quantities of heat close to the continent. Only now can we start to unravel the influence of sea ice on the weather that is experienced in southern Australia. But in another way the extent of sea ice extends its influence far beyond Antarctica. Antarctic krill—the small shrimp-like crustaceans that are the staple diet for baleen whales, penguins, some seals, flighted sea birds and many fish—breed well in years when sea ice is extensive and poorly when it is not. Many species of baleen whales and flighted sea birds migrate between the hemispheres and when the krill are less abundant they are less able to thrive.

The circulatory system of the world’s oceans is like a huge conveyor belt, moving water and dissolved minerals and nutrients from one hemisphere to the other, and from the ocean's abyssal depths to the surface. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the longest current in the world and has the largest flow. Through it, the deep flows of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans are joined to form part of a single global thermohaline circulation. During Winter, the howling katabatics sometimes scour the ice off patches of the sea's surface leaving large ice-locked lagoons, or ’polynyas'. Recent research has shown that as fresh sea ice forms, it is continuously stripped away by the wind and may be blown up to 90km in a single day. Since only fresh water freezes into ice, the water that remains becomes increasingly salty and dense, sinking until it spills over the continental shelf. Cold water carries more oxygen than warm water, so when it rises, well into the northern hemisphere, it re-oxygenates and revitalizes the ocean. The state of the northern oceans, and their biological productivity, owe much to what happens in the Antarctic.

The correct statement should be "Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), the longest current in the world, circulated under contributory force from wind blowing from the west"
The correct statement should be "The increase of salt and density of the water causes Antarctic water to move beyond the continental shelf "
This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 13-26.
Questions 13-21
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 13-21 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this.

13. The early public perception of Antarctica was of a place with little underlying worth.

14. Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), the longest current in the world, circulated under contributory force from wind blowing from the east.

15. The extreme environment of Antarctica influences weather patterns throughout the southern hemisphere.

16. Farmers in Australia use research carried out in the Antarctic to plan their business.

17. When sea ice in the Antarctic is less widespread, there is more food available for other marine animals.

18. Whales and seabird spend an equal amount of time feeding in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

19. The decrease of salt and density of the water causes Antarctic water to move beyond the continental shelf

20. Sea ice tends to remain static for long periods of time.

21. The positive effects of cold water from Antarctica is crucial to other oceans.

Questions 22-25
Complete the summary below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in 22-25 on your answer sheet.

Arctic krill is part of the of many other marine creatures.

The flow of water, around the world’s oceans, is similar to a moving from one hemisphere to another

Extreme winds cause ice to be blown off the surface of the sea leaving large .

The condition of the northern oceans owe their to what is going on in Antarctica.

Question 26
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in box 26 on your answer sheet.

26. The decrease in the number of Whales and seabirds is due to


Answer Sheet
1
N/A
2
N/A
3
N/A
4
N/A
5
N/A
6
N/A
7
N/A
8
N/A
9
N/A
10
N/A
11
N/A
12
N/A
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


Reading Passage Vocabulary
Antarctica - in from the cold?

A little over a century ago, an expedition led by Scott, Shackleton and Mawson bravely battled against Antarctica’s blizzards, cold and deprivation. In the name of Empire and in an age of heroic deeds they created an image of Antarctica that was to last well into the 20th century—an image of remoteness, hardship, bleakness and isolation that was the province of only the most courageous of men. The image was one of a place removed from everyday reality, of a place with no apparent value to anyone.

As we enter the 21st century, our perception of Antarctica has changed. Although physically Antarctica is no closer and probably no warmer, and to spend time there still demands a dedication not seen in ordinary life, the continent and its surrounding ocean are increasingly seen to be an integral part of planet earth, and a key component in the earth’s ecosystem. Is this because the world seems a little smaller these days, shrunk by TV and tourism, or is it because Antarctica really does occupy a central spot on Earth’s mantle? Scientific research during the past half century has revealed—and continues to reveal—that Antarctica's great mass and low temperature exert a major influence on climate and ocean circulation, factors which influence the lives of millions of people all over the globe.

Antarctica was not always cold. The slow break-up of the super-continent Gondwana with the northward movements of Africa, South America, India and Australia eventually created enough space around Antarctica for the development of an Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), that flowed from west to east under the influence of the prevailing westerly winds. Antarctica cooled, its vegetation perished, glaciation began, and the continent took on its present-day appearance. Today the ice that overlies the bedrock is up to 4km thick, and surface temperatures as low as -89.2deg C have been recorded. The icy blast that howls over the ice cap and out to sea—the so-called katabatic wind—can reach 300 km/hr, creating fearsome wind-chill effects.

Out of this extreme environment come some powerful forces that reverberate around the world. The Earth’s rotation, coupled to the generation of cells of low pressure off the Antarctic coast, allow astronauts in space a view of Antarctica that is as beautiful as it is awesome. Spinning away to the northeast, the cells grow and deepen, whipping up the Southern Ocean into the mountainous seas so respected by mariners. Recent work shows that the temperature of the ocean may be a better predictor of rainfall in Australia than is the pressure difference between Darwin and Tahiti, the Southern Oscillation Index. By receiving more accurate predictions, graziers in northern Queensland are able to avoid overstocking in years when rainfall will be poor. Not only does this limit their losses but it prevents serious pasture degradation that may take decades to repair. CSIRO is developing this as a prototype forecasting system, but we can confidently predict that as we know more about the Antarctic and Southern Ocean we will be able to enhance and extend our predictive ability.

The ocean’s surface temperature results from the interplay between deep-water temperature, air temperature and ice. Each winter between 4 and 19 million square km of sea ice form, locking up huge quantities of heat close to the continent. Only now can we start to unravel the influence of sea ice on the weather that is experienced in southern Australia. But in another way the extent of sea ice extends its influence far beyond Antarctica. Antarctic krill—the small shrimp-like crustaceans that are the staple diet for baleen whales, penguins, some seals, flighted sea birds and many fish—breed well in years when sea ice is extensive and poorly when it is not. Many species of baleen whales and flighted sea birds migrate between the hemispheres and when the krill are less abundant they are less able to thrive.

The circulatory system of the world’s oceans is like a huge conveyor belt, moving water and dissolved minerals and nutrients from one hemisphere to the other, and from the ocean's abyssal depths to the surface. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the longest current in the world and has the largest flow. Through it, the deep flows of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans are joined to form part of a single global thermohaline circulation. During Winter, the howling katabatics sometimes scour the ice off patches of the sea's surface leaving large ice-locked lagoons, or ’polynyas'. Recent research has shown that as fresh sea ice forms, it is continuously stripped away by the wind and may be blown up to 90km in a single day. Since only fresh water freezes into ice, the water that remains becomes increasingly salty and dense, sinking until it spills over the continental shelf. Cold water carries more oxygen than warm water, so when it rises, well into the northern hemisphere, it re-oxygenates and revitalizes the ocean. The state of the northern oceans, and their biological productivity, owe much to what happens in the Antarctic.

The correct statement should be "Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), the longest current in the world, circulated under contributory force from wind blowing from the west"
The correct statement should be "The increase of salt and density of the water causes Antarctic water to move beyond the continental shelf "
 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
These are general tips that will appear on all reading questions.

Tips to improve your reading speed
To get a high score on the IELTS reading section, you need to have a fast reading speed. To have a fast reading speed, you need to improve your vocabulary and practice dissecting sentences. One strategy to dissect a sentence is to look for the subject and verb of the sentence. Finding the subject and verb will help you better understand the main idea of said sentence. Keep in mind, a common feature of a IELTS reading passage is to join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks that students have a hard time absorbing. Do not get overwhelmed by its length, just look for the subject and verb, the rest of the ideas will flow.

Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Once you can read and comprehend a passage with a rate of, at least, 220 words per minute, you'll be ready to start implementing our strategies. All too often, students spend too much time reading the passages and not enough time answering the questions. Here is a step by step guide for tackling the reading section.

  1. Step 1: Read questions first

    One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

    The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.

    It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

    Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.

    Difficulty level Question Type
    Easy Sentence Completion
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Matching Headings
    Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching Information
    Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
    Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)

  2. Step 2: Read for an objective

    After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

  3. Step 3: Take notes

    As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!

  4. Step 4: Answer wisely

    After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

IELTS Reading Question Types
 
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