It is assumed that glaciers move slowly, but occasionally they have surges and move up to fifty times faster
The Dead Sea is famous for the salinity of its water.
The humidity in tropical areas can make you very tired.
The oceans can reach depths of eleven kilometres in places.
Altitude sickness is due to a reduction in air pressure.
Rain is mainly caused by evaporation from the oceans.
We need to look after the environment around us.
Biology is a branch of the natural sciences.
Our perception of the brightness of the sun changes with the seasons.
Linda: Hi, everyone. How are you all?
John: I’m fine thanks, Linda.
Steven: Actually, I’m not feeling so well – I think I’ve got a cold.
Linda: Oh no, Steven. I’m sorry to hear that. What about you, Joanne?
Joanne: I’m fine, but I’m very busy with my biology course.
John: Oh, me, too – there ’s so much work to do.
Joanne: In that case, we should get started on our essay. John, do you want to start?
John: OK … Let me start by telling you my ideas for the essay.
We’ve really got to decide who does what for our Natural Earth project.
OK, Alice. Well, we’ve got all our cloud research so let’s decide how to break it down.
Well, we should probably start by saying how clouds are formed.
Good idea, and then maybe move on to the different types of clouds. We can separate it into low-lying,
medium-level and high clouds. What do you think, Jenny?
Yes, I think that’s a good idea, and we should also make a PowerPoint to make it a bit more interesting,
and put in pictures of the different clouds.
Good idea, Jenny! We should probably have cue cards, too. I’m useless at remembering what to say
Yes, me too! Well, I’m quite happy to organise everything we ’ve found out about clouds and make sure
it fits into our presentation times.
Actually, I’d better do that. I’ve got all the research on my computer so it makes sense. How about if
you make the presentation slides. Karl?
OK. Alice. That ’s fine by me.
Well, if you guvs are going to do that, then I’ll look on the Internet for pictures of the different types of
That’ll be great, Jenny. I’ll also make the prompt cards so we don’t forget what we ’re saving during the
Sounds great. Let’s have a run through on Tuesday. What sections does everyone want to talk about?
I don’t really mind.
I hate speaking in front of people so I’d prefer not to do the introduction.
I don’t mind. I’ll do that. If you don’t want to talk much, then why don’t you just do the middle bit about
the medium-level clouds?
Yes, I can do the low-level and high-level clouds part. I’m sure Jenny can handle the summarising, too.
Thanks, guys. We can all take questions together
Debbie! Hi. How are you?
Oh … I’ve been struggling with my Natural Earth assignment. It’s proving to be really difficult.
The one for Professor Black? Me too. I’m writing about volcanic activity. What are you doing yours on?
Acid rain. I thought that would be OK, but the process is really complicated.
Well, I can help you with it! I know a lot about acid rain. I studied the causes and effects last year.
Really? That’s great … I’ve done some work on the causes. I’m going to write that acid rain is caused
by sulphur dioxide from power plants and smelters. Basically, this reacts in the atmosphere to form
Ah. but it ‘s not just sulphur dioxide, it ’s also nitrogen oxides.
Yes, from things like car exhausts.
But aren’t nitrogen oxides also caused by natural events, too?
Yes. They’re a minor factor, but I think they’re worth mentioning. But, sorry, carry on …
Thanks. I might add that. So anyway, these emissions react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen and
oxidants to form acidic compounds like sulphuric acid. These compounds then fall to earth.
Are you going to mention the different ways they return to the ground?
Do you mean wet and dry deposition?
Yes! So you’ve done a bit of background reading, then?
Yes … so if I’ve got it right, acid rain often comes down as rain, but also as snow or fog. This is wet
deposition. I’m also going to define it as any form of precipitation that removes acids from the atmosphere.
Yes, I think that’s a good term to define it.
Dry deposition. … Well, I think that ’s when the pollutants stick to the ground through dust. I’m not
really sure how to define it, though, compared to wet deposition.
Just think of it as any pollutants that are not caused through precipitation. That’s probably the best
way. Did you know that sunlight can enhance the effects of acid rain as well?
No, I didn’t. There’s so much to think about. I’m sure I’ll go over my word limit.
Well, you sound like you know a lot about the subject. Just try and keep your focus. I’ve had the same
problem writing about volcanoes! There’s just so much!
Do you want to make a start on our Natural Earth project? I think our idea of a lightning safety
presentation is great, don’t you, Rachel?
Yes, I think it’ll be really good … I have a few ideas already.
Great! Me too. I think we should divide it into two parts: what to do if you’re inside when lightning
strikes, and what to do if you’re outside. What do you think?
That’s good, but we need more. Something about planning for this kind of event. And also, what to do
if someone gets hit by lightning.
I can’t believe I forgot that! Of course! Well, what should we talk about in the first part?
I think we should say it’s important to be aware. Lightning is always before rain, so don’t wait until it
rains. As soon as you hear thunder or lightning you should get inside.
OK, yes. And then if you’re indoors, you should avoid water. Stay away from doors and windows, and
don’t use the telephone.
Or any electrical eguipment. In fact, if you can, switch it off first. And you should wait half an hour
after the last clap of thunder before going back outside.
And if you’re outside when it storms, you also need to avoid water. Try and get inside as soon as
possible. There are certain things you should avoid … open spaces … anything large and made of
metal. And of course the obvious one: trees.
But we should mention that if lightning strikes very near you, you need to crouch down.
Oh! Is that right? I thought you had to stand still.
No, that’s actually wrong – you’re supposed to crouch down …
… and put your hands over your ears. The noise can damage your hearing if you don’t. OK … I think
we ’ve got quite a lot here. Only the last part to go. Now: what to do if someone gets hit.
I think we should say that it’s very rare for someone to get hit by lightning. Our talk sounds as if
there’s danger all around! We should try and make it sound a bit more reassuring!
Yes, you’re right – we’ll say it doesn’t happen often. It’s just better to be safe than sorry. But what
should we say about getting hit by lightning?
Well, I think we should say it ’s safe to touch people who’ve been hit by lightning … they don’t have any
electrical charge! If there’s a first aider around, then they should help them. Otherwise it’s just best
to call for an ambulance. And we should remind our audience that eighty per cent of lightning victims
don’t get fatally injured! That should calm everyone ’s nerves!
So, I think we ’d better start planning what we ’re going to do for our group project. Have you guys had
I was thinking we should do something on extreme weather events, but I think Alex had some different
Yes, maybe we should look into more localised weather conditions and the effects on the immediate
That’s a good idea, Alex, but I don’t think we’d be able to get much data on that, and we don’t really
have time to do our own research. What about doing something about the seasons?
I think the seasons might be a bit too wide-reaching, you know, when we take into account the wind
patterns and pressure systems.
Maybe you’re right.
Well, how about Tom’s idea of extreme weather conditions?
Yes, that sounds like a good idea. It’s easy to break down into separate parts and it certainly sounds
I’d quite like to cover monsoons. I’ve been doing some reading on them and they’re quite interesting.
Well, that sounds good. We should maybe take two areas each – that would make it easier for us to focus.
Well, we’ve got lots to choose from: we could do blizzards, heat waves, droughts, cyclones. There are
loads! Why don’t you do blizzards too, Tom?
I don’t fancy doing them, but I wouldn’t mind doing something on floods. They’re linked to monsoons,
I think, so it will be an easy transition. What do you fancy doing, Alex?
Well, I could always cover winds.
But that isn’t really extreme enough.
Hmm … I could do hurricanes, they’re pretty exciting. How about doing cyclones, Emma?
I’d rather do heat waves and droughts. I think. I know a bit about them. I don’t know anything about
Cyclones are really interesting, I can cover them.
That sounds great. I was thinking about doing cyclones, but I’m happy for you to do them.
Right, shall we get started on some of the content?
Yes, we haven’t got that much time. Does anyone know anything about their topics?
I know quite a lot about cyclones.
Well, I studied them at high school. You know, cyclones usually start near the equator. They need quite
warm water to form. Above the warm water, the vapour in the air forms clouds, and if there is low
pressure, then these clouds will start to rotate.
Isn’t it also the fact that the earth rotates too which makes the clouds spin more?
Yes, that too. Once they begin rotating, they can either lose momentum or keep gathering momentum
until they hit land – these ones are called mature cyclones. Luckily, as soon as they hit land, they start
to lose momentum and fade away. Just because they don’t have the warmth of the ocean underneath.
Well, that’s a relief!
They can still be really destructive. They’re like a big circle of wind. They blow strongly until the eye
of the storm passes – you know, the centre, where everything is really quiet, no wind or anything.
But then the other side hits and the winds blow just as strongly but in the other direction! It’s just
amazing! Yes, I would really like to cover that.
Well, it looks like we ’ve got it all arranged, then!