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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第620期:冰河时代(17)

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What is most alarming is that we have no idea—none—what natural phenomena could so swiftly rattle Earth's thermometer. As Elizabeth Kolbert, writing in the New Yorker, has observed: "No known external force, or even any that has been hypothesized, seems capable of yanking the temperature back and forth as violently, and as often, as these cores have shown to be the case." There seems to be, she adds, "some vast and terrible feedback loop," probably involving the oceans and disruptions of the normal patterns of ocean circulation, but all this is a long way from being understood.
最令人不安的是,我们不知道——报本不知道——是甚么天然景象使得地球的温度产生如此快速的变更。就像伊丽莎白·考柏特在《纽约客》上撰文所指出的那样:“没有已知的任何外部力量——乃至没有任何假定的外部力量——使得地球温度产生如冰核所显示的那样激烈、那样常常的变更。这傍边仿佛存在一个,”她持续写道,“范围很广而又非常恐怖的反应轮回。”这很能够和陆地及洋流的正常轮回被打乱有关,然则要完全懂得这一切,我们还有很长一段路要走。
One theory is that the heavy inflow of meltwater to the seas at the beginning of the Younger Dryas reduced the saltiness (and thus density) of northern oceans, causing the Gulf Stream to swerve to the south, like a driver trying to avoid a collision. Deprived of the Gulf Stream's warmth, the northern latitudes returned to chilly conditions. But this doesn't begin to explain why a thousand years later when the Earth warmed once again the Gulf Stream didn't veer as before. Instead, we were given the period of unusual tranquility known as the Holocene, the time in which we live now.

有一种实际认为,在新仙女木早期,大年夜量流人陆地的冰雪融水降低了北半球海水的盐分浓度(和密度),使得墨西哥湾暖流折转向南,就像一个司机为了防止撞车而改变偏向一样。由于缺乏了墨西哥湾暖流所带来的热量,北半球纬度较洼地区的气候重新答复到酷寒的状况。然则这不克不及解释为甚么1000年今后,本地球重新变暖时,墨西哥湾暖流却没有像以往那样转向。相反,我们进入了一个异常安稳的被称为全新世的时代,也就是我们如今所生活的时代。

There is no reason to suppose that this stretch of climatic stability should last much longer. In fact, some authorities believe that we are in for even worse than what went before. It is natural to suppose that global warming would act as a useful counterweight to the Earth's tendency to plunge back into glacial conditions. However, as Kolbert has pointed out, when you are confronted with a fluctuating and unpredictable climate "the last thing you'd want to do is conduct a vast unsupervised experiment on it." It has even been suggested, with more plausibility than would at first seem evident, that an ice age might actually be induced by a rise in temperatures. The idea is that a slight warming would enhance evaporation rates and increase cloud cover, leading in the higher latitudes to more persistent accumulations of snow. In fact, global warming could plausibly, if paradoxically, lead to powerful localized cooling in North America and northern Europe.
没有来由认为这一段稳定的气候会持续很长时间。现实上,某些气候学方面的威望认为,我们的气候正在变得比之前加倍蹩脚。人们很天然地认为全球性的气候变暖会对地球重新回到冰川状况起一种妨碍感化。但是,正如考柏特所指出的那样,当你碰到弗成猜想的气候动摇时,“你最不肯意做的事就是主动对它停止一种大年夜范围的监测”。有人乃至认为,气温的上升很能够会促使冰川期的到来。这类不雅点乍一看上去仿佛不大年夜明白,实际上很有事理。气温稍稍上升会使蒸发速度加快,云层加厚,从而使得纬度较洼地区的积雪持续赓续地增长。现实上,全球气温的上升能够会使北美洲和欧洲北部部分地区变得加倍酷寒。这是有事理的,固然是抵触的。
重点单词   检查全部解释    
capable ['keipəbl]

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adj. 有才能的,足以胜任的,有 ... 偏向的

 
rattle ['rætl]

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vi. 嘎嘎作响,喋咕哝不已
vt. 使冲动,使

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glacial ['gleisiəl]

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adj. 冰的,冰川(期)的,异常冷的,迟缓的

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unpredictable ['ʌnpri'diktəbl]

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adj. 弗成预知的

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avoid [ə'vɔid]

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vt. 防止,回避

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paradoxically

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adv. 似非而是地;自相抵触地;失常地

 
conduct [kən'dʌkt]

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n. 行动,举措,操行
v. 引导,指示,管理

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swiftly ['swiftli]

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adv. 敏捷地,敏捷地

 
evaporation [i.væpə'reiʃən]

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n. 蒸发,消掉,脱水,枯燥

 
circulation [.sə:kju'leiʃən]

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n. 流畅,轮回,发行量,消息传播

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