【新概念英语四】第14课:蝴蝶效应

2012-07-25 14:54:54   Tag:

新概念英语

 
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【新概念英语四】第14课:蝴蝶效应 :First listen and then answer the following question. 听录音,然后回答以下问题。 Why do small errors make it impossible to predict the weather system with a high degree of accuracy?

《新概念英语》第四册第14课MP3(英音)

新概念英语》第四册第14课MP3(美音)

 

【新概念英语四】第14课 The Butterfly Effect 蝴蝶效应 

First listen and then answer the following question.
听录音,然后回答以下问题。
Why do small errors make it impossible to predict the weather system with a high degree of accuracy?

【课文】
Beyond two or three days, the world's best weather forecasts are speculative, and beyond six or seven they are worthless.

The Butterfly Effect is the reason. For small pieces of weather -- and to a global forecaster, small can mean thunderstorms and blizzards -- any prediction deteriorates rapidly. Errors and uncertainties multiply, cascading upward through a chain of turbulent features, from dust devils and squalls up to continent-size eddies that only satellites can see.

The modern weather models work with a grid of points of the order of sixty miles apart, and even so, some starting data has to be guessed, since ground stations and satellites cannot see everywhere. But suppose the earth could be covered with sensors spaced one foot apart, rising at one-foot intervals all the way to the top of the atmosphere. Suppose every sensor gives perfectly accurate readings of temperature, pressure, humidity, and any other quantity a meteorologist would want. Precisely at noon an infinitely powerful computer takes all the data and calculates what will happen at each point at 12.01, then 120.2, then 12.03...

The computer will still be unable to predict whether Princeton, New Jersey, will have sun or rain on a day one month away. At noon the spaces between the sensors will hide fluctuations that the computer will not know about, tiny deviations from the average. By 12.01, those fluctuations will already have created small errors one foot away. Soon the errors will have multiplied to the ten-foot scale, and so on up to the size of the globe.
JAMES GLEICK, Chaos

【New words and expressions 生词和短语】

forecast n. 预报
speculative adj. 推测的
blizzard n. 暴风雪
deteriorate v. 变坏
multiply v. 增加
cascade v. 瀑布似地落下
turbulent adj. 狂暴的
dust devil 小尘暴,尘旋风
squall n. 暴风
eddy n. 旋涡
grid n. 坐标方格
sensor n. 传感器
humidity n. 湿度
meteorologist n. 气象学家
Princeton n. 普林斯顿(美国城市名)
New Jersey n. 新泽西(美国州名)
fluctuation n. 起伏,波动
deviation n. 偏差

【课文注释】
1.beyond two or three days,超过两三天。
beyond这个介词有很多用法:
①在或向(某物)的远处。
例句:The road continues beyond the village up into the hills.
这条路绵延不断越过村子直入山中。

②迟于或超过(某一时间)。
例句:It won't go on beyond midnight.
这不会持续到午夜以后。

③越出(某事物)范围;超越。
例句:The bicycle is beyond repairis.=The bicycle is too badly damaged to repair.
这辆自行车已不能修理了。

④除(某事物)以外;除了。
例句:He's got nothing beyond his state pension.
除了国家发的养老金,他一无所有。

2.deteriorate <v.> 变坏,恶化。
If something deteriorates, it becomes worse in some way.和improve是反义词。
例句:Food is apt to deteriorate in summer.
食物在夏天容易变质。

例句:The discussion deteriorated into a bitter quarrel.
这场讨论演变成了激烈的争吵。

3.multiply乘;增多,增加;繁殖。
①表示两数相乘。
例句:2 and 3 multiply to make 6.
2和3相乘得6。

②增多,增加。
例句:Our problems have multiplied since last year.
自去年以来我们的问题增多了。
这篇文章中“errors and uncertainties multiply”的multiply就是增加、增多的意思。

③繁殖,增殖。
例句:It is possible to multiply bacteria and other living organisms in the laboratory.
在实验室能够繁殖细菌和其他生物。

4.cascade,瀑布
①作名词,瀑布;如瀑布般的。
例句:The water formed a cascade down the mountain.
水沿山泻下,形成一条瀑布。

②in cascades/cascades of,像瀑布一样。
例句:Climbing plants with their bright flowers hung in cascades over the garden wall.
开出鲜艳花朵的爬藤植物瀑布般悬挂在花园墙上。

③作动词,如瀑布似的落下。
例句:Her golden hair cascaded down her back.
她的金发像瀑布似的披在背后。

5.a chain of,一系列,一连串。
例句:It is as if a single unimportant event set up a chain of reactions.
仿佛一件小事引起了一连串连锁反应似的。
例句:The enemy tank car caught fire and set off a chain of explosions.
敌人的油车着了火,引起了一连串的爆炸。

6.of the order of,大约。

7.all the way to,一直,完全。
例句:The two runners contested the race closely it was nip and tuck all the way.
那两个赛跑选手竞争激烈,在赛程中一直不相上下。

例句:I'll back you up all the way.
我完全支持你。

【参考译文】
世界上最好的两三天以上的天气预报具有很强的猜测性,如果超过六七天,天气预报就没有了任何价值。

原因是蝴蝶效应。对于小片的恶劣天气 -- 对一个全球性的气象预报员来说,“小”可以意味着雷暴雨和暴风雪 -- 任何预测的质量会很快下降。错误和不可靠性上升,接踵而来的是一系列湍流的徵状,从小尘暴和暴风发展到只有卫星上可以看到的席卷整块大陆的旋涡。

现代气象模型以一个坐标图来显示,图中每个点大约是间隔60英里。既使是这样,有些开始时的资料也不得不依靠推测,因为地面工作站和卫星不可能看到地球上的每一个地方。假设地球上可以布满传感器,每个相隔1英尺,并按1英尺的间隔从地面一直排列到大气层的顶端。再假定每个传感器都极极端准确地读出了温度、气压、温度和气象学家需要的任何其他数据。在正午时分,一个功能巨大的计算机搜集了所有的资料,并算出在每一个点上12:01、12:02、12:03时可能出现的情况。

计算机无法推断出1个月以后的某一天,新泽西州的普林斯顿究竟是晴天还是雨天。正午时分,传感器之间的距离会掩盖计算机无法知道的波动、任何偏平均值的变化。到12:01时,那些波动就已经会在1英尺远的地方造成偏差。很快这种偏差会增加到尺10英的范围,如此等等,一直到全球的范围。

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