The weather is probably one of the things we talk about the most. Everybody is a weather forecaster. The scientist who predict the weather are called meteorologists. They are now quite accurate about forecasting the weather over the next few days, but are less accurate over the next few weeks or months. Data from observation stations, ships, airplanes, weather balloons and satellites from all around the world are used by meteorologists to produce weather maps called “synoptic charts”. These are used to predict the weather. A typical synoptic chart is shown below. The lines on the map, called “isobars”, join places with the same air pressure. Winds blow from areas of high pressure to areas of lower pressure.
 The equator is the part of the Earth that receives the most energy from the sun. The areas around the North and South Poles receive less energy from the sun. They also reflect a lot of the energy back into space, because they are covered by white snow and ice. So areas around the equator are hot and those around the poles are a lot colder. Nature tries to balance this difference in temperature, so energy in the form of heat is transferred from the equator to the poles by winds and ocean currents. This is what causes our weather. Factors that affect the weather include the location of land masses, the seasons, and the rotation of the Earth on its axis, which causes winds to be deflected. Climate is the description of the weather over the whole year.
 Even in the modern world and with all our technology, we are still at the mercy of the weather. Typhoons, which occur in the western North Pacific Ocean, are very strong tropical storms that can cause enormous damage. To be called a typhoon, a storm must have winds of at least 120 kilometers per hour, but often winds over 200 kilometers per hour are produced. This same type of storm is called a hurricane in the North Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and a cyclone in the Indian and western South Pacific Ocean. Warm seas are needed to create a typhoon. As the warm, moist air above the ocean rises, clouds of water vapor form, releasing heat energy and causing the air to rise even faster. More air rushes in at sea level and this air rises as well. This causes very strong winds and very heavy rain. To keep the storm going, the air at the top of the storm has to be blown away from it. The center of the storm is very calm and is called the “eye” of the storm.
 On September 8, 1900 the city of Galveston in Texas was hit by one of the worst hurricanes of the 20th century. It was unexpected, and completely destroyed the city, killing more than 8,000 people. We now use satellites to track typhoons and predict their path. We generally have at least 24 hours’ warning of the arrival of a typhoon. So while we can’t control the weather, we are now better prepared for it than ever before.

predict 「予測する」 observation station 「観測所」 isobar 「等圧線」 reflect 「反射する」  affect 「影響を及ぼす」 description 「説明」 typhoon 「台風」 hurricane 「ハリケーン」  Caribbean Sea 「カリブ海」(大西洋の付属海で,中米と南米大陸北岸,西インド諸島に囲まれた海域。北西部のユタカン海峡からメキシコ湾(Gulf of Mexico)に通じる。) cyclone 「サイクロン」


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お礼日時:2009/05/15 23:42