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- WHAT IS ACID RAIN
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- Acid rain and its ecological consequences
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WHAT IS ACID RAIN
The solution to the problem of acid rain is perhaps one of the main environmental and political issues facing the peoples of the industrialized nations, and their neighbours today. There is no doubt about the damage which acid rain has caused, but what remains unclear are the precise causes of acid rain and the most efficacious means of reducing its environmental, economic and political impacts. We have presented a balanced look at the differing points of view on the current state of knowledge in acid rain research with respect to atmospheric processes, environmental effects, measurement procedures, and the legal and political issues surrounding acid rain. This review indicates that the atmospheric processes creating and transporting acid rain are not well enough understood to enable its reduction with any guarantee of success. This conclusion is based on the confusing or conflicting evidence presented by recent scientific studies.
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic , meaning that it has elevated levels of hydrogen ions low pH. It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide , which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids. Some governments have made efforts since the s  to reduce the release of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere with positive results. Nitrogen oxides can also be produced naturally by lightning strikes, and sulphur dioxide is produced by volcanic eruptions. Distilled water , once carbon dioxide is removed, has a neutral pH of 7.
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Because of its serious large-scale effects on ecosystems and its transboundary nature, acid rain received for a few decades at the end of the last century wide scientific and public interest, leading to coordinated policy actions in Europe and North America. Through these actions, in particular those under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, air emissions were substantially reduced, and ecosystem impacts decreased. Widespread scientific research, long-term monitoring, and integrated assessment modelling formed the basis for the policy agreements. We also discuss important characteristics of the science—policy interactions, such as the critical loads concept and the large-scale ecosystem field studies. Finally, acid rain and air pollution are set in the context of future societal developments and needs, e. We also highlight the need to maintain and develop supporting scientific infrastructures.
Acid rain and its ecological consequences
Acid rain, or acid deposition, is a broad term that includes any form of precipitation that contains acidic components, such as sulfuric acid or nitric acid, according to the Environmental Protection Agency EPA. The precipitation is not necessarily wet or liquid; the definition includes dust, gasses, rain, snow, fog and hail. The type of acid rain that contains water is called wet deposition. Acid rain formed with dust or gasses is called dry deposition.
Simply put, it means rain that is acidic in nature due to the presence of certain pollutants in the air due to cars and industrial processes. It is easily defined as rain, fog, sleet or snow that has been made acidic by pollutants in the air as a result of fossil fuel and industrial combustions that mostly emits Nitrogen Oxides NOx and Sulfur Dioxide SO2. Acidity is determined on the basis of the pH level of the water droplets by assigning it a number between 0 and 14, where 0 represents extreme acidity and 14 represents superlative basicity the opposite of acidity. According to EPA ,. This can include rain, snow, fog, hail or even dust that is acidic.
Only a relatively small group of scientists seeking an explanation for the changes they observed in the environment were concerned with the problem.
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Acidification of rain-water is identified as one of the most serious environmental problems of transboundary nature. Acid rain is mainly a mixture of sulphuric and nitric acids depending upon the relative quantities of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen emissions. Due to the interaction of these acids with other constituents of the atmosphere, protons are released causing increase in the soil acidity Lowering of soil pH mobilizes and leaches away nutrient cations and increases availability of toxic heavy metals.
Keyword: Acid rain, sulphuric, Deposition, nitrogen, pollutants Causes,. Effects, Control PDF of full length paper is available with author. INTRODUCTION. Since.
Acid rain is one of the consequences of air pollution. Gases produced from the burning of fuels react with the oxygen in the air and water vapour, transforming into acids that fall onto the earth's surface as rain. This acidification of the earth and surface water has devastating effects on ecosystems and poses a serious danger to living beings. The water and vapour emanating from Lake Kawah Ijen Indonesia , in the crater of the volcano of the same name, are lethal due to its high concentration of sulphuric acid. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, natural fires, lightning and some microbial processes release sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. However, it is human action that causes most sulphur dioxide emissions due to the burning of fuels in industry and power stations, as well as half of nitrogen oxide emissions due to gases produced by motor vehicles.
The pH of precipitation undoubtedly is affected by a variety of natural sources of acidic and alkaline materials e. However, it has recently become apparent that rain and snow in certain regions of the earth are consistently more acidic than expected. Current data indicate that the mean annual pH in this region declined from 5.