Chemical Effects Of Acid Rain

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What is acid rain?
Acid rain is a form of deposition in which chemicals with an acidic pH level are taken out of the atmosphere through precipitation. When we pollute the air by burning fossil fuels, we create different chemicals that end up in our atmosphere. A few of these have chemical reactions with the water in clouds, and form (depending on the chemical) sulfurous and nitrous acids. When it rains, this acid is taken back to the ground.

While pure water has a neutral pH level of 7, even unpolluted water will have an acidic pH level of 5.6 due to CO2, NO, and SO4 naturally being present in the lowest layer of our atmosphere. However, the majority of acids that end up in our atmosphere are from human activity. We measure the acidity of rain by taking water samples, and doing a lab using indicators to find the pH. Acid rain is considered dangerous whenever we have a pH of below the regular acidity, so anywhere less than pH 5.6.

We can reduce chemicals causing acid rain from reaching the atmosphere by cutting back on the production of them. Already, there are laws in place such as the 1990 Clean Air act and stricter vehicle
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are naturally acidic, acid rain can still impact the terrestrial ecosystems. Acid rain can provide a leaching effect to soils, by unlocking nutrients and toxic metals from it. The removal of toxins can be beneficial to the plants in the area, but the acid also takes away important nutrients that the plants need to survive. Some soils are more impacted than others, and that depends on the basicity of the soil there. If an area is rich in limestone, which is a natural base, the acids will be cancelled out. If an area has soil that isn’t basic, then the organisms in that area will take a harder hit. Acid rain can also have an effect on the trees of a terrestrial ecosystem by damaging the leaves, which not only impacts the trees, but also the plants below that were sheltered by the

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