Effects of Acid Rain

Topics: Oxygen, Sulfur dioxide, Carbon dioxide Pages: 2 (632 words) Published: November 18, 2012
Acid Rain Essay
Many may ask how acid can just fall from the sky. However, it falls in the form of rain. Acid rain can be described as rain that is more acidic then regular rain. In scientific terms, acid rain has a pH lower then 5.6, the pH of clean rain. As shown, clean rain has a pH less then neutral; carbon dioxide in the air interacts with rain causing the drop of pH.

Acid rain has a couple different causes. However, pollution plays the biggest role in the creation of acid rain. The burning of fossil fuels from factories, cars, and power plants create fumes, which rise in the air and create acid rain. The two main chemicals in the making of acid rain are sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxides. Specifically in the United States, sulfur in coal creates most of the solutions being released by smoke houses. The production of acid rain all starts with reaction with water producing H+ ions. Regular rain, with CO2 as described above, produces one H+ ion and HCO3. When the production of acid rain occurs, the Sulfur dioxide is oxidized and is made sulfur trioxide. The equation of this is: 2SO2+O2 2S03. After oxidation, the sulfur trioxide combines with water to create sulfuric acid that then falls to the ground as acid rain. The equation of this is: SO3+H2OH2SO4. If these reactions just occurred, created acid rain, and didn’t hurt anything when it fell, it would go unnoticed. Too bad it isn’t all that easy. Acid rain doesn’t hurt humans too much, but hurts the environment around us as well as many buildings made of marble. For humans, acid rain’s only impact is that it may irritate our lungs. Also, the acid rain causes poor visibility in certain areas. Acid rain plays a much larger impact on the environment. For example, the effect it has on lakes and rivers. Most lakes have pH’s ranging from six to eight. However, the acid rain that gets absorbed in the soil around the water causes the pH to go lower. In a pond in Franklin, New York the pH got as low as 4.2. The...
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