Never mind the weather


Everyone knows that bad weather can depress you, but what about its effects on company profits? It’s difficult to sell ice-cream when it’s cold, or attract customers to a ski resort when there’s no snow. So what precautions can these businesses take? Companies often have insurance against negative changes in interest or foreign exchange rates. Insuring against bad weather is simply another form of risk management. In the USA, the market for this type of insurance is worth an estimated $9 billion a year.
Agriculture, energy and leisure are just three examples of industries that depend on the weather. The number of visitors to a theme park like Disneyland falls in a wet summer, and a mild winter reduces the demand for heating and affects the energy sector. One advantage of this type of insurance is that it is easy to measure the weather. You can specify temperature, hours of sunshine, wind speed or inches of rainfall. For example, the London wine bar chain, Corney and Barrow, have a deal with Speedwell Weather Derivatives. The open-air terraces are an important attraction for customers in the summer months. Obviously this depends on dry, sunny weather. They receive a payout for every Thursday and Friday (the peak drinking time in London’s business district) when the temperature does not rise above 24 degrees Centigrade. Commercial airfields have problems when there is a lot of wind. They can take out insurance against the average wind speed exceeding a certain level. That way they receive compensation for loss of revenue on days when high winds stop them flying.
In some countries there is a problem with this type of insurance. The climate is very changeable and weather information isn’t very reliable. This makes it more difficult to assess the risks. On the other hand, it gives people something to talk about.



Exercise 1

Match these verbs from the text with their meaning:

1. to attract
2. to depend
3. to fall
4. to reduce
5. to affect
6. to measure
7. to specify
8. to receive
9. to rise
10. to assess

 mierzyć
 oddziaływać
 oszacować
 otrzymać
 przyciągać
 spadać
 sprecyzować
 wzrastać
 zależeć
 zmniejszać



Exercise 2

Find in the text words which mean:

1. zyski firmy
2. środki zapobiegawcze
3. ubezpieczenie
4. kurs wymiany walut
5. zarządzanie ryzykiem
6. popyt
7. sector energetyczny
8. pewien poziom
9. odszkodowanie
10. przychód


Exercise 3

Match the words to form correct collocations:

1. commercial              changes
2. negative                   chain
3. ski                             park
4. theme                       resort
5. wine bar                   airfield



I know English idioms!


This lesson’s topic is weather and its influence on business. The English language has a good number of weather-related idioms. Let’s study a few of them:

  •  a storm in a tea-cup                           burza w szklance wody
  •  to shower sb with (gifts)                  zasypać (prezentami)
  •  to feel under the weather                czuć się nie najlepiej
  •  not to have the foggiest idea          nie mieć bladego pojęcia
  •  to flood the market                             zalać rynek



Phrasals, phrasals…

Speaking of weather, we mustn’t forget that English also has some phrasal verbs connected with this topic. One of them is here:
Angry like never before she stormed out of the room without a word.

Everybody understood that “to storm out” means more or less “wybiec, gwałtownie wyjść”.
Have you ever happened to storm out of the meeting room?


Grammar corner…

This lesson’s reading text starts like this: “Everyone knows that…” which can be understood as: “Każdy wie, że…” or “Wszyscy wiedzą, że…” but we have to remember that in English “everyone” is a singular noun and so it must take a singular verb (“knows”).

How would you say this in English then:

1. Wszyscy tego chcą.
2. Każdy jest zajęty.
3. Każdy ma swoje problemy.
4. Wszyscy są zadowoleni.



to depress sb – wpędzić kogoś w depresję
company profits – zyski firmy
to attract – przyciągnąć
customer – klient
ski resort – ośrodek narciarski
precaution – środek zapobiegawczy
insurance – ubezpieczenie
interest – odsetki
foreign exchange – wymiana walut
rate – stopa, kurs
risk management – zarządzanie ryzykiem
market – rynek
to be worth – być wartym
estimated – oszacowany, szacunkowy
agriculture – rolnictwo
leisure – czas wolny
industry – branża
to depend on – zależeć od
visitor – odwiedzający
theme park – park tematyczny
to fall – spadać
to reduce – zmniejszać
demand – popyt
to affect – oddziaływać
advantage – korzyść
to measure – mierzyć
to specify – sprecyzować
inch – cal
chain – sieć
deal – umowa
obviously – oczywiście
to receive – otrzymywać
payout – tu: odszkodowanie
peak – szczytowy
to rise – wzrastać
airfield – lotnisko
average – średni
exceeding – przekraczający
certain – pewien
level – poziom
compensation – odszkodowanie
loss – strata
revenue – przychód
changeable – zmienny
reliable – wiarygodny
to assess – oszacować



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1. to attract
2. to depend
3. to fall
4. to reduce
5. to affect
6. to measure
7. to specify
8. to receive
9. to rise
10. to assess
Ex. 2
1. company profits
2. precautions
3. insurance
4. foreign exchange rates
5. risk management
6. demand
7. energy sector
8. certain level
9. payout / compensation
10. revenue
Ex. 3
1. commercial airfield
2. negative changes
3. ski resort
4. theme park
5. wine bar chain
Grammar corner
1. Everyone wants it/that.
2. Everyone is busy.
3. Everyone has their (!) own problems.
4. Everyone is satisfied.