How does acid rain affect the atmosphere?



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    Acid rain is formed when oxides of nitrogen and sulfite combine with moisture in the atmosphere to make nitric and sulfuric acids. These acids can be carried away far from its origin. After years of study, scientists have discovered certain forests have been growing more slowly without cause. Leaves and pines needles turn brown and fall off when they should be green. After several years of collecting and recording information on the biology of the forest, researchers have concluded the cause is due to acid rain. Acid raid causes leaves to lose their protective waxy coating, and when this occurs, plants are open to any possible disease. By damaging the leaves, the plant can not produce enough food energy for it to remain healthy. Once the plant is weakened, it is vulnerable to disease, insects, and exposure to cold temperatures can cause it to perish.

    Acid rain does not only effect organisms on land, but it also affects organisms in aquatic biomes. Sulfuric acid in polluted precipitation interferes with the fish’s proficiency to absorb oxygen, salt, and nutrients. Acid rain also affects the health of humans through the atmosphere or through the soil from which our food is grown. This occurs because acid rain causes toxic metals to emit from their natural chemical compounds. The release of toxic metals can be absorbed by the drinking water, crops, or animals that humans consume. The foods consumed have been known to cause nerve and brain damage. Scientists believe that one metal, aluminum, in particular is relate to Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately, the emmissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are causing pollutants in the atmosphere which is affecting all living plants, animals and humans. Governments have passed laws to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide to reduce the release of these pollutants.

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