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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English

  • from BBC Learning English.

  • I’m Sam.

  • And I’m Neil. Agh, it’s raining again, Sam!

  • I’ve had enough! It’s been

  • drizzling, that’s raining lightly, all week

  • I know what you mean, Neil.

  • Living in a wet country

  • like Britain I sometimes wish I

  • could push a magic button and stop it raining.

  • And ironically, people living in hot,

  • dry countries need rain but don’t get it.

  • If only we could control the weather

  • Ah well it’s funny you should

  • say that, Neil, because youre

  • not the first person to have that idea.

  • In this programme, well be hearing about

  • cloud-seedingandgeo-engineering’, two

  • controversial methods scientists are using

  • to manipulate or change the weather.

  • And as usual, well be learning

  • some new vocabulary as well.

  • Anything that stops it drizzling

  • sounds good to me, Sam.

  • I hate to disappoint you, Neil, but these ideas

  • involve making more, not less, rain.

  • Well learn the details soon but first I have a

  • question for you about the wettest

  • place in the world, a village which

  • gets nearly twelve metres of rain a year.

  • But where is it?

  • Is the wettest village on earth found in:

  • a) Ireland? b) New Zealand?

  • or, c) India?

  • Well, it rains a lot in Ireland

  • doesn’t it, so I’ll say that’s

  • where the wettest place on earth is.

  • OK, Neil. Well find out if that’s the

  • correct answer later in the programme.

  • The first type of weather manipulation well hear

  • about is a way of getting snow and rain

  • out of clouds known ascloud seeding’.

  • Airplanes fly through the clouds and

  • spray chemicals to make water particles

  • freeze and stick together as snowflakes.

  • These then fall as snow which

  • builds up during winter

  • before melting in spring to help water crops.

  • Listen as Charmaine Cozier, presenter of

  • BBC World Service programme,

  • The Inquiry, speaks with

  • Professor Katja Friedrich, an atmospheric

  • scientist at the University of Colorado:

  • The first cloud seeding experiments

  • took place in the 1940s.

  • In the years since, scientists are

  • often accused of meddling with nature.

  • People are thinking, yeah, youre

  • putting some substances in

  • the atmosphere that should not be there.

  • Usually I respond and say, every time you

  • get into your car, every time you

  • get on an airplane you put substances

  • in the air that don't

  • belong, so you're also playing God.

  • Because everyone needs

  • water, cloud seeding is

  • becoming more and more popular, with

  • scientists from over fifty countries using

  • the method to extract rain from clouds.

  • But some critics accuse these

  • scientists of meddling with

  • naturetrying to change something which

  • it’s not their responsibility to change.

  • In other words, theyre

  • accused of playing Godacting

  • as if they have unlimited

  • power and can do whatever they want.

  • Unlike cloud-seeding, the next type

  • of weather modification has never

  • been tested and is still just a theory.

  • Solar geo-engineeringaims to reduce

  • global warming by reflecting sunlight

  • away from the Earth, back into space.

  • This involves putting tiny particles

  • called aerosols into the stratosphere - the

  • band of sky twenty kilometres

  • above the surface of the earth, about

  • twice as high as airplanes fly.

  • Although it’s never been tested, the

  • method is controversial, as

  • Charmaine Cozier discussed with Harvard

  • University professor of engineering,

  • David Keith, for BBC World Service’s, The Inquiry:

  • How controversial is this area?

  • There's lots of controversy around solar

  • geo-engineering - and for good reason.

  • People are, I think, sensibly scared

  • that this could provide an

  • excuse that allows countries or

  • companies to avoid doing the work

  • that has to be done to cut emissions.

  • But in fact, controversy has

  • really waxed and waned over time,

  • so in the early work on climate

  • change in the 1960s, and 70s and

  • early 80s, these ideas were just

  • part of the way we talked about what

  • might happen about climate change.

  • And then, as climate change became more

  • politically central, say in the

  • 90s and 2000s, there was really a taboo.

  • David Keith believes

  • that geo-engineering could

  • provide an excuse for inaction on

  • climate change – a reason for countries to

  • explain why they did not take action.

  • He says controversy over the method has

  • waxed and waned - an idiom connected

  • with the cycle of the moon which

  • describes something that increases

  • then decreases over time.

  • In the 1960s

  • for example, geo-engineering

  • was uncontroversial, but by the

  • 1990s it had become taboo - a

  • subject that is avoided

  • for social or religious reasons.

  • While these ideas to change

  • the weather have

  • potential benefits, other

  • suggestions - for example to position a

  • giant floating mirror between the

  • earth and sun - are highly controversial

  • Although personally, I think

  • the idea of giant floating

  • umbrella above Britain would be good!

  • Ha! Well, just think -

  • there are even rainier

  • places to live Neil, as I asked

  • in my question: in which country

  • is the world’s rainiest village?

  • I guessed it was in Ireland.

  • Which wasthe wrong answer,

  • I’m afraid.

  • In fact, Mawsynram,

  • the world’s wettest village, is in the

  • Khasi hills of north-eastern India.

  • With around twelve metres

  • of rain a year, I guess it’s not

  • somewhere youll be visiting, Neil!

  • OK, let’s recap the vocabulary

  • weve learned starting with drizzling

  • which means raining lightly.

  • If youre meddling youre trying

  • to change something

  • which is not your responsibility

  • or without being asked to.

  • Someone who is playing God is acting

  • as if they control everything and

  • can do whatever they want.

  • An excuse is a reason you give to

  • explain why you did something wrong.

  • If something waxed and waned, it

  • grew stronger then weaker over time.

  • And finally, a taboo is a subject that

  • avoided for social or religious reasons.

  • Once again, our six minutes are up!

  • Bye for now!

  • Bye bye!

Hello. This is 6 Minute English

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B1 US cloud seeding engineering seeding geo cloud raining

6 Minute English: Controlling the weather

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    王杰 posted on 2022/11/12
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