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Hi. Welcome again to www.engvid.com. I'm Adam. Today's lesson comes from a few requests from
the www.engvid.com comments section. Some people wanted to know about natural disasters.
So what I have here is a bit of a combination of climate vocabulary and natural events.
I don't call them "disasters" because, realistically, they're only disasters to humans; to nature,
they are just events. Okay?
Before we begin, I want to make sure we understand the difference between "climate" and "weather".
"Weather" is the occurrence of nature every day. Today is sunny, tomorrow is raining,
today is a little bit chilly, tomorrow is going to be nice and warm. Every day's situation
is the weather. "Climate" is the pattern over usually we talk about a year. So if a country
or a place has four seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter - each season has its own climate;
rainy, hot, humid, whatever the case may be. So we're going to look at climate and natural
events that usually go together. Now, this last year or the past 2 or 3 years have seen
some very crazy weather-or sorry-climate events. So I'm going to give you some words to be
able to discuss these amongst yourselves.
First, we're going to start with: "flood" and "drought". Okay? The "h", the "gh" not
pronounced. "drought", "flood", like going up. So "flood" is when there's too much water.
Very heavy rain, sometimes it's because snow melts too quickly in hills or mountains. All
the water comes into a low place or a flat place, the earth doesn't absorb it quickly
enough or the sewage can't take all of it, the pipes, et cetera so all the water rises
up above the ground, goes into your houses, into the subway stations, everywhere. That's
a flood, a flood. "Drought" is the complete opposite. A "drought" is what happens when
a region or a place doesn't get water, doesn't get any rain for a very long period of time.
Everything dries out, all the crops, all the wheat, and rice, and everything dies. Sometimes
this leads to a famine. Okay? A "famine" is when there's a lot of people starving. Okay?
So this is a natural disaster because human beings and animals are starving because everything
died in the drought, there's nothing to eat.
Okay, next we have: "earthquake". "Quake" basically means shake. An "earthquake" is
when the earth shakes. Okay? Now, what often happens is when there's an earthquake in the
sea or near the sea, there's often a "tsunami". Now, this is actually a Japanese word. Actually,
it's two Japanese words, but they are used so commonly that we just take them as an English
word now. "Tsunami" means harbor wave. Not so important for you guys right now, but it's
basically a big wave or a big series of waves that after the earthquake, all the water in
the seas or the oceans starts moving around, sometimes it moves on to the land and just
destroys everything. I think everybody probably remembers the tsunami from 2006 or so in Indonesia,
in that area, very destructive, in Japan a couple of years ago - huge tsunamis.
Next, this is what we're experiencing lately with climate change, global warming, whatever
you want to call it: "heat waves" and "cold fronts". Now, if you watch the news, the weather
channel, for example, sometimes you'll see something like this, you'll see lines with
semicircles moving. Other times, you'll see red lines with triangles moving. The blue
lines, these are cold fronts, means a very cold mass of air, the cold amount of air is
moving. The red one, same thing but heat, a lot of heat. Heat waves are very dangerous
because they come very suddenly; it gets very, very hot. A lot of people suffer from it,
a lot of people die from it. Same with a cold front, suddenly the temperature really, really
drops: minus 20, minus 30, minus 40. And again, very, very dangerous; you don't want to be
outside when that happens.
Next, we'll talk a little bit about snow. Now, the Inuit, that's the natives of Canada
in the far north, they have I think maybe 50 different words for "snow". I'm only going
to give you a couple other than "snow". A "blizzard" is a very heavy snowstorm. Okay?
Lots of, lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of snow. Very white. If you live in a hot
country, you don't know what this is, but it's actually very beautiful but very dangerous,
not fun to drive in, not fun to walk in. Just fun... Nice to look at, that's it. A "squall"
is like a blizzard except that it's very sudden, very short, and very intense. So sometimes
a squall will come in. You have like sunshine, pretty day. It's cold, but, you know, it's
winter, but sunny. Then suddenly, you can't see anything, everything is white. Just snow,
snow, snow, like you can't see past two feet in front of you. And then, 10 minutes later,
half an hour later, it's gone and it's sunny again. We call this a "snow squall".
Okay. I know all of you know this word: "storm", but do you know the different types of storms
that you can experience? You can have an "icestorm". An "icestorm" is when it seems to be raining,
except that it's not rain drops, it's little, little tiny ice particles. They fall on a
tree and become ice. They fall everywhere and become ice. So in Toronto, that's where
we are today, in Toronto this winter, we had an icestorm. Overnight, all the ice fell.
In the morning, trees started falling down. Why? Because all the branches were covered
in ice and became so heavy that it-boom-crashed on top of cars, on top of people, on top of
everything. Power was out for a long time. Not much fun.
In desert places, like in the Sahara Desert, you have a "sandstorm" where suddenly a big
wind carries all this sand, and you can't see anything, and it gets in your eyes, and
not much fun. "Thunderstorm", lots of thunder. "Lightningstorm", lots of lightning. "Hail",
"hail" are little pieces of ice about this big, and they drop, and they hit you on the
head and they're a little painful. "Rainstorm", "duststorm", all kinds of storms. Always one
word. "Icestorm", one word. "Sandstorm", one word. Not two separate words.
Now, students often ask me: "What is the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone?"
Sometimes tornado and monsoon. "Hurricane", "typhoon", and "cyclone", same idea, it's
a big circling storm that comes over land and destroys everything. A "hurricane" happens
in the Atlantic Ocean and sometimes in the Northeast Pacific. Mostly it's in the Atlantic
and that's why it hits the States and Mexico all the time. "Typhoon" is in the Northwest
Pacific Ocean, hits Japan, Philippines, all those countries there. A "cyclone" happens
in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, hitting India and countries in that area. A "tornado",
a "tornado" is like a tiny little hurricane except it's very localized, very small area,
happens on land. These all happen... These all begin in the ocean. This happens on land
like a little wind spins really, really fast and just destroys everything on its way. Mostly
it happens in the U.S. in the middle of the United States. And a "monsoon", a "monsoon"
is like a very, very heavy wind and rainstorm. Usually hits India and Southeast Asia, those
areas there.
Then, sometimes... These are natural events, they're not necessarily connected to climate,
but the climate does help. A "mudslide", sometimes you see like there's too much rain or too
much deforestation, too many trees have been cut down from a mountain. These trees, the
roots of these trees hold the earth together. Not enough trees or too much water and half
the mountain-vloop-just slides off the mountain. It's mud, you know mud like sand and water
becomes mud just slides off and buries everything underneath it. An "avalanche" is like a mudslide
except that it's snow. In the mountains, you have lots of snow, lots of snow. Then eventually
gets too thick and heavy, and just starts falling down and burying everything underneath it.
And then you have a "volcanic eruption". A "volcano" is like a... Sort of like a little
mountain, but very hot inside with magma or lava is another way to say it. Then just-poof-blows.
In Iceland a few years ago, a volcano exploded, all the ash covered the air-woop, sorry-all
the ash and you couldn't see anything, and flights couldn't take off from Northern Europe.
Very bad situation.
So this is what happens. This is the Earth we live on, we deal with it, but we also like
to talk about it now and again, and now, hopefully, you have some vocabulary to use in that discussion.
Of course, you can test yourself at www.engvid.com, there's a quiz, come by and try it out. And
we'll see you again soon.
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Learn English Vocabulary - Weather and natural disasters

129551 Folder Collection
Susy published on July 9, 2015    Gisele Sung translated    Sunny Hsu reviewed
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