IMAT 2012 Q34 [Arguments | Global Warming]

After Northern Europe experienced the coldest weather for several years last winter, people are claiming that the theories of global warming are incorrect. This is not a conclusion that can be drawn from the information as it is only based on a single year’s data. Global warming is based on long term changes in average temperature. It therefore does not mean that the temperature will increase every year. The extreme weather last winter was caused by cold air from the Arctic which is normally kept there by strong winds around the pole. Last winter those winds were not as strong.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the above argument?

A. Some of the people claiming that the theories of global warming are incorrect do not come from areas that had very cold weather last winter.

B. Although the weather was very cold last winter, the winter before was of average temperature.

C. Other regions of the Northern Hemisphere were hotter last winter than in previous years.

D. All the people claiming that theories of global warming are incorrect come from areas that had very cold weather last winter.

E. The claims that theories of global warming are incorrect are supported by further evidence.

Key Steps:

  1. Find the Argument
  2. Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
  3. Eliminate easy options
  • These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Weaken instead of strengthen)
  1. Determine which answer strengthens the argument THE MOST

After reading the passage, we can establish that the author is trying to prove that global warming exists and that the existing theories are correct. The author supports their argument by firstly explaining that the effect of global warming is measured by change in average temperature over time. Secondly, the author uses the explanation for the extremely cold weather experienced in Northern Europe (that it was caused by cold air originating in the Arctic) to indicated that there is no correlation between the episode of extreme weather in Northern Europe and global warming.

When we are working through the answers, it is important to keep in mind the core argument: Theories of global warming are correct. We will then look through the answers and eliminate anything that weakens or is the opposite of the argument. Once we have done that, we will identify which of the remaining options strengthens the argument the most.

We are now ready to work through the options and find the correct one:

A. Some of the people claiming that the theories of global warming are incorrect do not come from areas that had very cold weather last winter:

The passage makes no mention of the origin of the people claiming that the theories of global warming are incorrect. Also, regardless of the origin of the people, any claims saying that the theories of global warming are incorrect directly oppose the argument that global warming theories are correct. A is incorrect.

B. Although the weather was very cold last winter, the winter before was of average temperature:

This statement is saying that other than the episode of extremely cold weather, there has been no change in temperature when looking at the previous year’s weather. As a result, this statement opposes the provided explanation of global warming: “Global warming is based on long term changes in average temperature”. Consequently, this statement would weaken the argument. B is incorrect.

C. Other regions of the Northern Hemisphere were hotter last winter than in previous years:

The passage explains that “Global warming is based on long term changes in average temperature”. This statement indicates that there has been an increase in temperature in other regions of the Northern Hemisphere, when compared to previous years. This directly supports the argument and strengthens it as it serves as evidence of global warming. C is correct

D. All the people claiming that theories of global warming are incorrect come from areas that had very cold weather last winter:

Similar to A. The passage makes no mention of the origin of the people claiming that the theories of global warming are incorrect. Also, regardless of the origin of the people, any claims saying that the theories of global warming are incorrect directly oppose the argument that global warming theories are correct. D is incorrect.

E. The claims that theories of global warming are incorrect are supported by further evidence:

This statement directly opposes the argument and as a result weakens it. E is incorrect