AMCAT Reading Comprehension Previous Papers Questions - English 5

amcat reading comprehension previous questions with answers-5


THE stratosphere—specifically, the lower stratosphere—has, it seems, been drying out. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas, and the cooling effect on the Earth's climate due to this desiccation may account for a fair bit of the slowdown in the rise of global temperatures seen over the past ten years. These are the somewhat surprising conclusions of a paper by Susan Solomon of America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and her colleagues, which was published online by Science on January 28th. Whether the trend will continue, stop or reverse itself, though, is at present unknown.
The stratosphere sits on top of the troposphere, the lowest, densest layer of the atmosphere. The boundary between the two, the tropopause, is about 18km above your head, if you are in the tropics, and a few kilometres lower if you are at higher latitudes (or up a mountain). The tropopause separates a rowdy below from a sedate above. In the troposphere, the air at higher altitudes is in general cooler than the air below it, an unstable situation in which warm and often moist air below is endlessly buoying up into cooler air above. The resultant commotion creates clouds, storms and much of the rest of the world's weather. In the stratosphere, the air gets warmer at higher altitudes, which provides stability
The stratosphere—which extends up to about 55km, where the mesosphere begins—is made even less weather-prone by the absence of water vapour, and thus of the clouds and precipitation to which it leads. This is because the top of the troposphere is normally very cold, causing ascending water vapour to freeze into ice crystals that drift and fall, rather than continuing up into the stratosphere.
A little water manages to get past this cold trap. But as Dr Solomon and her colleagues note, satellite measurements show that rather less has been doing so over the past ten years than was the case previously. Plugging the changes in water vapour into a climate model that looks at the way different substances absorb and emit infrared radiation, they conclude that between 2000 and 2009 a drop in stratospheric water vapour of less than one part per million slowed the rate of warming at the Earth's surface by about 25%.
Such a small change in stratospheric water vapour can have such a large effect precisely because the stratosphere is already dry. It is the relative change in the amount of a greenhouse gas, not its absolute level, which determines how much warming it can produce, and this change was about 10% of the total.
By comparison with the greenhouse effect caused by increases in carbon dioxide, the stratospheric drying is hardly massive. Dr Solomon and her colleagues peg the 2000-2009 cooling effect at about a third of the opposite effect they would expect from the carbon dioxide added over the same decade, and only a bit more than a twentieth of the warming expected from the rise in carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution. But it is surprising, nonetheless.
It is for the most part only in the tropics that tropospheric air can be drawn up into the stratosphere; it is also in the tropics that one finds the most spectacular thunderstorms, and these can reduce the temperature at the top of the troposphere, deepening the cold trap that ascending water vapour must pass through and thus impeding its rise. Over the past decade this stormy effect seems to have been pronounced, with the coldest parts of the tropical troposphere getting about a degree colder. But why this should be is not clear. Sea-surface temperatures, which drive the big tropical storms, have been high, and during the past few years have seemed to correlate with increased coldness aloft. At other times, though, they have seemed to predict a wetter stratosphere.
Dr Solomon cannot say what is driving the change she and her colleagues have studied, nor how long it will last. It may be one of many aspects of the climate that flop around, seemingly at random, over periods of years to decades. Or it might be something driven by a long-term change, such as the build-up of greenhouse gases (or, conceivably, layers of sooty smog). Dr Solomon suspects the former, because of the way the relationship between the stratosphere and the sea-surface temperature has changed. Patterns of sea-surface temperature which come and go, rather than absolute levels that continue to rise, may be the important thing.
That said, it is possible that the changes in the stratosphere are linked to the effects humans are having on the atmosphere at large, and that the drying may persist in providing a brake on warming. Or it may be, as others have suggested in the past, that the long-term trend, as the troposphere warms up, will be to a wetter, more warming lower stratosphere, too. Whether this is the case depends on physical subtleties that are currently undecided, but it is not implausible. If it were true, then the current drying would be more a blip than a trend.
A better understanding of matters as diverse as how water vapour actually gets across the tropopause and how the stratosphere circulates at the global scale might help sort the question out, and Dr Solomon's high profile contribution may help focus researchers on those problems. Meanwhile, the good news (if further research bears it out) that the world's warming has been slowed, at least for a few years, needs to be leavened with the realisation, yet again, that there are significant uncertainties in science's understanding of the climate — and thus unquantifiable risks ahead.
1. What is the order of layers in the atmosphere, starting from the lowermost and going to the topmost?
A. Tropopause, Troposphere, Mesosphere, Stratosphere.
B. Troposphere, Tropopause, Stratosphere, Mesosphere.
C. Troposphere, Tropopause, Mesosphere, Stratosphere.
D. Troposhere, Stratosphere, Tropopause, Mesosphere.

2. What is the passage has been cited as the main reason affecting global temperatures?
A. Relative change in water vapour content in the Stratosphere.
B. Drop in Stratospheric water vapour of less than one part per million.
C. The extreme dropness in the Stratosphere.
D. Absorption and emission of infrared radiation by different substances.

3. Why is the situation in the troposphere defined as unstable?
A. Because, unlike the Stratosphere, there is too much water vapour in the Troposphere.
B. Because the Troposphere is not directly linked to the Stratosphere, but through the Tropopause which creates much of the world‘s weather.
C. Because of the interaction between warm and cool air which is unpredictable in nature and can leads to storms.
D. Because this layer of the atmosphere is very cloudy and can lead to weather related disruptions.

4. What accounts for the absence of water vapour in Stratosphere?
A. The layer of Stratosphere is situated too far above the water vapour to reach.
B. Rising global temperatures, leading to reduced water vapour that get absorbed in the Troposphere.
C. The greenhouse gas gets absorbed by the clouds in the Troposphere and comes down as rain.

D. Before the vapour can rise up, it has to pass through below freezing temperatures and turns into ice.


Sixty years ago, on the evening of August 14, 1947, a few hours before Britain’s Indian Empire was formally divided into the nation-states of India and Pakistan, Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina, sat down in the viceregal mansion in New Delhi to watch the latest Bob Hope movie, “My Favorite Brunette.” Large parts of the subcontinent were descending into chaos, as the implications of partitioning the Indian Empire along religious lines became clear to the millions of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs caught on the wrong side of the border. In the next few months, some twelve million people would be uprooted and as many as a million murdered. But on that night in mid-August the bloodbath—and the fuller consequences of hasty imperial retreat—still lay in the future, and the Mountbattens probably felt they had earned their evening’s entertainment.

Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, had arrived in New Delhi in March, 1947, charged with an almost impossible task. Irrevocably enfeebled by the Second World War, the British belatedly realized that they had to leave the subcontinent, which had spiralled out of their control through the nineteen-forties. But plans for brisk disengagement ignored messy realities on the ground. Mountbatten had a clear remit to transfer power to the Indians within fifteen months. Leaving India to God, or anarchy, as Mohandas Gandhi, the foremost Indian leader, exhorted, wasn’t a political option, however tempting. Mountbatten had to work hard to figure out how and to whom power was to be transferred.

The dominant political party, the Congress Party, took inspiration from Gandhi in claiming to be a secular organization, representing all four hundred million Indians. But many Muslim politicians saw it as a party of upper-caste Hindus and demanded a separate homeland for their hundred million co-religionists, who were intermingled with non-Muslim populations across the subcontinent’s villages, towns, and cities. Eventually, as in Palestine, the British saw partition along religious lines as the quickest way to the exit.

But sectarian riots in Punjab and Bengal dimmed hopes for a quick and dignified British withdrawal, and boded ill for India’s assumption of power. Not surprisingly, there were some notable absences at the Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi on August 15th. Gandhi, denouncing freedom from imperial rule as a “wooden loaf,” had remained in Calcutta, trying, with the force of his moral authority, to stop Hindus and Muslims from killing each other. His great rival Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who had fought bitterly for a separate homeland for Indian Muslims, was in Karachi, trying to hold together the precarious nation-state of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the significance of the occasion was not lost on many. While the Mountbattens were sitting down to their Bob Hope movie, India’s constituent assembly was convening in New Delhi. The moment demanded grandiloquence, and Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi’s closest disciple and soon to be India’s first Prime Minister, provided it. “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny,” he said. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, while the world sleeps, India will awaken to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Posterity has enshrined this speech, as Nehru clearly intended. But today his quaint phrase “tryst with destiny” resonates ominously, so enduring have been the political and psychological scars of partition. The souls of the two new nation-states immediately found utterance in brutal enmity. In Punjab, armed vigilante groups, organized along religious lines and incited by local politicians, murdered countless people, abducting and raping thousands of women. Soon, India and Pakistan were fighting a war—the first of three—over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Gandhi, reduced to despair by the seemingly endless cycle of retaliatory mass murders and displacement, was shot dead in January, 1948, by a Hindu extremist who believed that the father of the Indian nation was too soft on Muslims. Jinnah, racked with tuberculosis and overwork, died a few months later, his dream of a secular Pakistan apparently buried with him.

Many of the seeds of postcolonial disorder in South Asia were sown much earlier, in two centuries of direct and indirect British rule, but, as book after book has demonstrated, nothing in the complex tragedy of partition was inevitable. In “Indian Summer” (Henry Holt; $30), Alex von Tunzelmann pays particular attention to how negotiations were shaped by an interplay of personalities. Von Tunzelmann goes on a bit too much about the Mountbattens’ open marriage and their connections to various British royals, toffs, and fops, but her account, unlike those of some of her fellow British historians, isn’t filtered by nostalgia. She summarizes bluntly the economic record of the British overlords, who, though never as rapacious and destructive as the Belgians in the Congo, damaged agriculture and retarded industrial growth in India through a blind faith in the “invisible hand” that supposedly regulated markets. Von Tunzelmann echoes Edmund Burke’s denunciation of the East India Company when she terms the empire’s corporate forerunner a “beast” whose “only object was money”; and she reminds readers that, in 1877, the year that Queen Victoria officially became Empress of India, a famine in the south killed five million people even as the Queen’s viceroy remained adamant that famine relief was a misguided policy.

Politically, too, British rule in India was deeply conservative, limiting Indian access to higher education, industry, and the civil service. Writing in the New York Tribune in the mid-nineteenth century, Karl Marx predicted that British colonials would prove to be the “unconscious tool” of a “social revolution” in a subcontinent stagnating under “Oriental despotism.” As it turned out, the British, while restricting an educated middle class, empowered a multitude of petty Oriental despots. (In 1947, there were five hundred and sixty-five of these feudatories, often called maharajas, running states as large as Belgium and as small as Central Park.)

1.     From the passage, what can we conclude about the view of the author about Lord Mountbatten?
Option 1 : Appreciative    Option 2 : Sarcastic        Option 3 : Neutral  Option 4 : Speculative

2.     What is the author likely to agree to as the reason for the chaos in the sub-continent in 1947?
Option 1 : Because Gandhi was assassinated
Option 2 : Because the British left the sub-continent in haste.
Option 3 : Because the Hindus and Muslims could not live in peace.
Option 4 : Because Lord Mountbatten was watching a movie on 14th August 1947.
3.     What could possibly "grandiloquence" mean as inferred from the context in which it has been used in the passage?
Option 1 : Grand Party Option 2 : Celebrations    Option 3 : Lofty speech Option 4 : Destiny
4.     What is the author primarily talking about in the article?
Option 1 : Mountbatten's association with India. Option 2 : Nehru's speech
Option 3 : Gandhi's assassination          Option 4 : The aftermath of the partition.
5.     In the view of the author, What does the Nehru's phrase "tryst with destiny" symbolise today?
Option 1 : A celebration of Indian Independence Option 2 : An inspirational quote
Option 3 : A reminder of Gandhi's assassination   4 : A symbol of the ills of the partition
6.     The author persists on talking about the " Bob Hope movie" in the article. Why?
Option 1 : Because the movie was a classic of 1947
Option 2 : He thinks it caused the partition of the sub-continent.
Option 3 : He uses it to show the apathy of the Britishers towards the sub-continent
Option 4 : It was Mountbatten's favourite movie.
7.     What does the author imply about the future of the Pakistan?
Option 1 : It becomes a secular country.        Option 2 : It becomes unsecular.
Option 3 : It is unprosperous.              Option 4 : It becomes a rogue state.
8.     Why was Gandhi assassinated?
Option 1 : Because he was favouring the Muslims.
Option 2 : His assassin thought he was partial to the Muslims.

Option 3 : He got killed in the violence after partition.                Option 4 : None of these

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