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Acid Rain Synopsis

By | April 2009
Page 1 of 9
Acid rain is rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic. It has harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is mostly caused by human emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds which react in the atmosphere to produce acids. In recent years, many governments have introduced laws to reduce these emissions.Contents [hide] 1 Definition

2 History
3 Emissions of chemicals leading to acidification
3.1 Natural phenomena
3.2 Human activity
4 Chemical processes
4.1 Gas phase chemistry
4.2 Chemistry in cloud droplets
5 Acid deposition
5.1 Wet deposition
5.2 Dry deposition
6 Adverse effects
6.1 Surface waters and aquatic animals
6.2 Soils
6.3 Forests and other vegetation
6.4 Human health
6.5 Other adverse effects
7 Affected areas
7.1 Potential problem areas in the future
8 Prevention methods
8.1 Technical solutions
8.2 International treaties
8.3 Emissions trading
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links


"Acid rain" is a popular term referring to the deposition of wet (rain, snow, sleet, fog and cloudwater, dew) and dry (acidifying particles and gases) acidic components. A more accurate term is “acid deposition”. Distilled water, which contains no carbon dioxide, has a neutral pH of 7. Liquids with a pH less than 7 are acidic, and those with a pH greater than 7 are bases. “Clean” or unpolluted rain has a slightly acidic pH of about 5.2, because carbon dioxide and water in the air react together to form carbonic acid, a weak acid (pH 5.6 in distilled water), but unpolluted rain also contains other chemicals.[1] H2O (l) + CO2 (g) '' H2CO3 (aq)

Carbonic acid then can ionize in water forming low concentrations of hydronium ions: 2H2O (l) + H2CO3 (aq) CO32- (aq) + 2H3O+(aq)


Since the Industrial Revolution, emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to the atmosphere have increased.[2] [3] In 1852, Robert Angus Smith was the first to show the...

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