What is acid rain and what causes it?
- Acid rain is a broad term used to describe the several different way acid falls out of the atmosphere
- A better term is acid deposition which is both wet and dry
- Wet deposition comes from acid rain, snow, and fog
- Dry deposition comes from acidic gases and particles in the air
- Dry deposition accounts for about half of the acid that falls back to earth
- Both are mainly caused by the release of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides from factories and also from natural sources like a forest.
- The actual acid rain occurs when the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide react with the other gases in the atmosphere creating acidic compounds
How do we measure acid rain?
- Acid rain is measured with the ph scale (the lower the ph the more acidic the object is)
- Pure water has a ph of 7.0 while the acid rain falling on us has a ph level of 4.3
- There are two organizations that monitor acid rain
- One organization is The National Atmospheric Deposition Program which monitors the wet deposition
- The second organization is The Clean Air Status and Trends Network which measures the dry deposition
What are acid rain’s effects?
- It can kill off whole species of aquatic life if ph level gets too low
- At ph level 5 fish eggs cannot hatch
- It can also kill off other plant life that cannot handle low ph levels
The acid begins to build up in the soil which will start to starve trees of their nutrients which will cause whole forests to die off
Over time acid rain will leave scratch marks on the finish of your car
Over long periods of time acid rain will dirty and begin to eat away at stone, paint, and some metals
Acid rain also cuts down on how far we can see
- Acid rain can give a person premature death, and lung diseases like asthma and bronchitis
What can we do as individuals?
- Turn off all electronic devices when you are not using them
- Use different power sources like wind, water, and solar power
- Keep your thermostat at 68 F in the winter and 72 F in the summer
- Insulate your home the best you can
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