Acid rain is a type of rain the contains an unusually low ph making it acidic. Acid rain is caused by the reaction of various gaseous emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. These emissions react with water in the atmosphere causing the formation of acids.
The emissions are caused by both man made and natural causes, mainly volcanoes.
The formation of acid rain can cause the rapid corrosion of steel structures such as bridges and erosion of stone and paint. It can contribute to heart and lung problems including asthma and bronchitis. Many plants and animals are also affected by acid rain. With the reduction of the ph in the soil, many plants are prone to die if acid rains persist.
Acid rain is a term used to describe any type of precipitation, including but not limited to rain, snow, fog, or any particles that fall to Earth, that have high levels of sulfuric and nitric acids. Acid rain is typically caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels by automobiles and coal-burning power plants. However, natural causes, such as rotting vegetation and the eruption of volcanoes, are leading factors in the formation of acid rain as well.
When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere, the chemical gases react with water, oxygen, and other substances to form sulfuric and nitric acids. Winds spread the solutions thousands of miles across the atmosphere, and when the acid rain reaches Earth, it enters waters and sinks into the soil.
Acid rain has many damaging effects on aquatic life, vegetation, and humans. Lakes, wetlands, and other aquatic environments suffer immensely from acid rain. When water becomes acidic, it absorbs aluminum and becomes toxic to aquatic life. Trees and plants are also greatly effected. Acid rain robs them of the essential nutrients needed to grow. Humans may suffer heart and lung problems. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent acid is to curb pollutant emissions and conserve energy. While it is possible to reduce human activities that cause acid rain, the damage and harm that it has already caused would take years to disappear.
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