Earth's North and South Poles are famous for being cold and icy. Last year, however, the amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean fell to a record low1.
Normally, ice builds in Arctic waters around the North Pole each winter and shrinks during the summer. But for many years, the amount of ice left by the end of summer has been declining.
Since 1979, each decade has seen an 11.4 percent drop in end-of-summer ice cover2. Between 1981 and 2000, ice in the Arctic lost 22 percent of its thickness -- becoming 1.13 meters thinner.
Last summer, Arctic sea ice reached its skimpiest levels yet. By the end of summer 2007, the ice had shrunk to cover just 4.2 million square kilometers. That's 38 percent less area than the average cover at that time of year. Andit's a very large 23 percent below the previous record low, which was set just 2 years ago. This continuing trend has scientists concerned
There may be several reasons for the ice melt, says Jinlun Zhang, an oceanographer at the University of Washington3 in Seattle. Unusually strong winds blew through the Arctic last summer. The winds pushed much of the ice out of the central Arctic, leaving a large area of thin ice and open water4.
Scientists also suspect that fewer clouds cover the Arctic now than in the past. Clearer skies allow more sunlight to reach the ocean. The extra heat warms both the water and the atmosphere. In parts of the Arctic Ocean last year, surface temperatures were 3.5℃Celsius warmer than average and 1.5℃ warmer than the previous record high5.
With both air and water getting warmer, the ice is melting from both above and below. In some parts of the Beaufort Sea6, north of Alaska and western Canada, ice that measured 3.3m thick at the beginning of the summer measured just 50 centimeters by season's end.
The new measurements suggest that melting is far more severe than scientists have seen by just looking at ice cover from above, says Donald K. Perovich, a geophysicist at the U. S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H.7
Some scientists fear that the Arctic is stuck in a warming trend from which it may never recover.
the Arctic Ocean 北冰洋 shrink v.萎缩;缩小，减少 oceanographer n.海洋学家 skimpy adj.缺乏的，不足的 centimeter n.厘米 geophysicist n.地球物理学家
1. fell to a record low: 跌到历史最低点。record 作形容词时，意思是“空前的，创记 录的”。Record low 的反义词是 record high: 历史最高点。
2. ice cover: 冰覆盖量
3. University of Washington: 华盛顿大学，创建于 l861 年，座落在美国华盛顿州西雅图 市东北角，所以又称西雅图华盛顿大学，是美国著名的公立研究型大学。
4. open water: 没有冰覆盖的海面
5. record high : 见注释1。
6. the Beaufort Sea: 波弗特海，是北冰洋边缘海，位于美国阿拉斯加州东北岸和加拿大 西北岸，海中岛屿稀少，有无岛海之称。
7. Hanover，N.H：新罕布什尔州汉诺威市。N.H.是 New Hampshire 的缩写。该州位于美 国新英格兰地区。
1. Which of the following is closest in meaning to the word "build" in the first sentence of the second paragraph?
A) Construct. B) Extend. C) Create. D) Expand.
2. What is the ice cover in the Arctic by the end of 2007 summer?
A) 4.2 million square kilometers. B) 11.4 million square kilometers. C) 1.13 million square kilometers. D) 38 million square kilometers.
3. What are the reasons for the ice melt according to the scientists?
A) Strong winds and clear skies. B) Long summer and short winter.
C) Open water and thin ice. D) Light clouds and light winds.
4. Why is the ice melting from both above and below?
A) Because extra heat warms the air.
B) Because extra heat warms the water.
C) Because the temperature above the water is higher. D) Both A and B.
5. What can be a possible title for the passage?
A) What are scientists looking for in the Arctic Ocean? B) What are scientists doing in the Arctic Ocean?
C) Why are scientists worrying about the Arctic Ocean? D) Why are scientists interested in the Arctic Ocean?
1.D build 是个多义词，四个选项都是该词的潜在词义。但在第二段的第一句中，build 与后半句中 shrink(become smaller)一词相对，意思是 become bigger 之义。Extend 是增 长的意思，不适合用在此处。
2.A 答案可在第四段的第二句中找到。该句的意思是：2007 年夏末，冰的覆盖面积已经 缩小至 420 万平方公里。
3.A 短文的第五和第六段回答了这个问题。第五段告诉我们，由于强风的原因，大面积海 面仅有薄冰覆盖或没有冰层覆盖。第六段告诉我们，晴朗的天空使太阳直接照射海面，导致 高温。所以 A 是正确选择。B 的内容没有在文中提到。C 的表述内容是间接原因，是刮强风 的结果。D 选项中，light clouds 的确是 ice melt 的原因，但 fight winds 是错误的理解。
4.D 答案可在倒数第三段第一句话中找到。from both above and below 的意思是：无论 从海水上面还是底下，也就是说，无论是海水还是海面上的空气。所以 A 和 B 都回答了问题 ： 高温不但可能使水温增高，也使气温增高。
5.C 本文描述了科学家对北冰洋冰覆盖量的研究，研究结果是 Arctic is stuck in a warming trend from which it may never recover.(北冰洋变暖的趋势可能不会逆转)。第四段最后一句说：This continuing trend has scientists concerned，短文最后一句也 告诉我们，科学家对这种趋势十分忧虑(fear)。所以，C 是本题的答案