Acid Rain Essay

Topics: Fossil fuel, Acid rain, Natural gas Pages: 5 (1696 words) Published: April 24, 2013
Acid Rains
There are three gases which could cause acid rain, which are Sulphur Dioxide (sulphuric acid), NOx (oxides of nitrogen which produce nitric acid) and also perhaps Carbon Dioxide (weak carbonic acid), produces these acids because these gases dissolve in rain water/ precipitation and this forms a weak version of the acid, as the gases dissolve it lowers the pH of the rainwater. I think that there has been a increase in the production of acid rain, due to the fact that the country as a whole has become much more industrialised, and because industry needs energy, they start to burn fossil fuels which contain a mixture of carbon and sulphur/nitrogen impurities, meaning when they are burnt they can release all of these acidic rain causing gases.

Aquatic settings are the most clearly impacted by acid deposition though because acidic precipitation falls directly into them. Both dry and wet deposition also runs off of forests, fields, and roads and flows into lakes, rivers, and streams. As this acidic liquid flows into larger bodies of water, it is diluted but over time, acids can accrue and lower the overall pH of the body. Acid deposition also causes clay soils to release aluminum and magnesium further lowering the pH in some areas. If the pH of a lake drops below 4.8, its plants and animals risk death and it is estimated that around 50,000 lakes in the United States and Canada have a pH below normal (about 5.3 for water). Several hundred of these have a pH too low to support any aquatic life. Forests

Aside from aquatic bodies, acid deposition can significantly impact forests. As acid rain falls on trees, it can make them lose their leaves, damage their bark, and stunt their growth. By damaging these parts of the tree, it makes them vulnerable to disease, extreme weather, and insects. Acid falling on a forest’s soil is also harmful because it disrupts soil nutrients, kills microorganisms in the soil, and can sometimes cause a calcium deficiency. Trees at high altitudes are also susceptible to problems induced by acidic cloud cover as the moisture in the clouds blankets them. Damage to forests by acid rain is seen all over the world, but the most advanced cases are in Eastern Europe. It’s estimated that in Germany and Poland, half of the forests are damaged, while 30% in Switzerland have been affected. Buildings

Finally, acid deposition also has an impact on architecture and art because of its ability to corrode certain materials. As acid lands on buildings (especially those constructed with limestone) it reacts with minerals in the stones sometimes causing it to disintegrate and wash away. Acid deposition can also corrode modern buildings, cars, railroad tracks, airplanes, steel bridges, and pipes above and below ground. 8) The message from the cartoon is that due to the acid rain, the waters in which those aquatic life live, become more acidic, meaning that they will find it increasingly harder to survive in these waters and will eventually die. 11) This cartoon is really exploring the effects of acid rain on the trees, so they are trying to show that in future the Christmas trees might be just bare branches and barks, as due to the acid rain, the leaves all fall off. From the map, we can see that the most amount of acid rain is concentrate towards the east and in particular North East England, and this might be due to only the major industrial cities (before, not recently) such as Sunderland, where the factories would have given off a serious amount of gas, but also due to the prevailing wind, the gases from the midlands and west parts of the UK, also get blown towards the north east, due to this prevailing south-westerly wind. There is also quite a big relationship between the amount of acid rain and the levels of damage to forests, as straightaway we can see that the biggest country by far to suffer the worst was Germany which is in the High Acid rain band, and also some of its neighboring countries....
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