OG Test 3 - Passage IV

Questions 31-40 are based on the following passage.

NATURAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the article "When Research Is a Snow Job" by Sarah Boyle (©2002 by National Wildlife).
The figure is beyond comprehension: Every year,
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1 septillion)
snowflakes fall worldwide. As the crystals fall, they
encounter different atmospheric conditions that produce
5flakes with unique attributes. The more complex those
conditions are, the more elaborate the crystals.
Kenneth Libbrecht is a physicist at the California
Institute of Technology. Along with the work of scien­-
tists at the U,S. Department of Agriculture's Agricul-
10tural Research Service (ARS), his research is
uncovering new information about the magical world of
snow crystals-information that has practical applica­-
tions in such diverse areas as agriculture and the pro­-
duction of electricity.
15Snow crystals are indi.vidual crystals-usually in a
hexagonal form--,-while snowflakes are collections of
two or more snow crystals. Beginning as condensed
water vapor, a crysti:il typically grows around a nucleus
of dust. Its shape depends on how the six side facets-
20or faces-grow in relation to the top and bottom facets.
If they grow relatively tall, the crystal appears column­-
like; if the side facets are short compared to the length
of the bottom and top facets, the crystal looks platelike.
Currently Libbrecht is trying to crack the problem
25of why the crystal facets' growth varies with tempera­-
ture. He believes this may have something to do with
the ice surface's "quasi-liquid" layer, which affects how
water molecules stick to the surface.
By manipulating the temperature and humidity
30within an incubation chamber (and by adding an elec­-
tric current or various gases at times), Libbrecht creates
"designer" snowflakes in his lab. Such experiments are
helping him determine how crystals form.
William Wergin, a retired ARS research biologist,
35and a colleague, Eric Erbe, were using scanning elec­-
tron microscopy to look at biological problems relating
to agriculture. To avoid the laborious procedure that
using such equipment usually entails, the two scientists
decided to freeze the tissue they were working with and
40look at it in the frozen state
"One day it happened to be snowing," says
Wergin, "and we were looking for a specimen. We
imaged some snowflakes and were very surprised to see
what we did." It was the first time anyone had
45attempted to image snow crystals with scanning elec­-
tron microscopy, which provides precise detail about
the crystals' shape, structural features and metamor­-
phosed conditions (crystals often change once on the
ground depending on the surrounding environment).
50Wergin called another ARS colleague, hydrologist
Albert Rango, to see if the snow crystal magnifications
had any applications for his research. Rango now uses
Wergin's electron microscopy data, along with
microwave satellite data, in the Snowmelt Runoff
55Model to predict the amount of water available in a
winter. snowpack. For western states such as Colorado,
Montana, Utah and Wyoming, about 75 percent of the
annual water supply comes from snowmelt. Snowmelt
water is critical to crop irrigation and hydroelectric
60power, as .well as recreation and domestic water sup­-
plies, fisheries management and flood control.
Before employing the scanning electron micros­-
copy results, the forecasted amounts of snowpack water
were inaccurate whenever the size and shape of the
65snow crystals varied much from the norm. "The more
we know about crystals," notes Rango, "the easier it
will be to use microwave satellite data for predictions
of the snow water equivalent."
Currently, forecasts using the model are about
7090. percent accurate. A 1980 study estimated that
improving the prediction by 1 percent would save
$38 million in irrigation and hydropower in the western
United States.
Rango is also looking ahead at climate change pre-
75dictions. "Following the estimates that have been made
about what will happen by 2100, things are definitely
warming up," he says. Temperature increases will
likely result in a reduction in stream flow as overall
snow accumulation decreases, winter precipitation runs
80off as rain, and water evaporates at a quicker rate. The
gap between water supply and demand will magnify
even more, greatly increasing water's economic value,
anticipates Rango.
Not only does the crystal research help gauge
85snowmelt, it is also useful in predicting avalanches,
designing artificial snow, and, perhaps in the near
future, examining air pollution. "You can put snow in a
scanning electron microscope and tell which elements
are present, such as sulfur and nitrogen," says Wergin.
90"You can then see what kind of pollution is in the area
and possibly track the source."

Question 31

It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that the information about the scientific study of snow is pre­sented primarily to:

  • A emphasize the importance of communication among scientists.

  • B explain how snow crystal facets influence the snowpack in some western states.

  • C showcase the varied uses of the scanning electron microscope.

  • D demonstrate some of the practical applications of the study of snow crystals.

Question 32

According to the passage, the use of scanning electron microscopy can save money by:

  • F encourage scientists to make estimate of water requirements far into the future .

  • G allowing forecasters to predict more accurately the quantity of water in the snowpack.

  • H helping agricultural researchers to identify biological problems.

  • J increasing the water supply for Colorado,Montana,Utah,and Wyoming by 75 percent,

Question 33

It can reasonably be inferred that the phrase metamorphosed conditions(line47-48) refers to the:

  • A temperature and humidity at which crystals form.

  • B process by which snow crystals develop from a speck of dust and water vapor.

  • C state of snow crystals after they reach the ground.

  • D major changes in environmental condition.

Question 34

According to the passage, the addition of electron microscopy adta to the Snowmelt Runoff Model allows scientists using the model to include in their predictions detailed information about:

  • F microwave satellite data.

  • G structural variations of snow crystals .

  • H locations having the most snowfall.

  • J biological problems related to agriculture.

Question 35

According to Rango ,one reason that water's economic value is likely to increase by the year 2100 is that:

  • A more water will be polluted by then.

  • B lead water will be wasted due to more accurate predictions of the water supply.

  • C the sulfur and nitrogen content in snow is likely to increase.

  • D predicted climate changes will reduce overall snow accumulation.

Question 36

According to the passage , snowflakes have infinite variety because:

  • F enormous numbers of snow crystals fall worldwide.

  • G falling snow crystals meet with varied atmospheric conditions.

  • H snow crystals fall t various rates, creating unique snowflakes.

  • J complexities in the atmosphere slow snow crystal development.

Question 37

The passage states that snowflakes differ from snow crystals in that snowflakes:

  • A grow around a nucleus of dust.

  • B combine to form snow crystals.

  • C grow in relation to top and bottom facets.

  • D are composed of more than one crystal.

Question 38

The term "designer" snowflakes(line 32) refers directly to the face that:

  • F no two snowflakes alike.

  • G Libbrecht produces the snowflakes in his lab.

  • H snowflakes are part of the grand design go nature.

  • J Libbrecht's snowflakes exhibit special beauty.

Question 39

As it is used in line 59,the word critical most nearly means:

  • A evaluative

  • B faultfinding

  • C vital

  • D acute

Question 40

The passage states that research about snow crystals has helped scientists do all of the following EXCEPT:

  • F extract pollutants from snow.

  • G gauge snowmelt.

  • H design arterial snow.

  • J predict avalanches.


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