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What is Acid Rain?

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Introduction

What is Acid Rain? As the name suggests, acid rain is rain which is acidic. Rain is naturally slightly acidic because of the carbon dioxide dissolved in it, and to a lesser extent from chlorine (which is derived from the salt in the sea). This gives rain a pH of around 5.0, and in some parts of the world it can be as low as 4.0 (this is typical around volcanoes, where the sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide form sulphuric acid in the rain). Before the Industrial Revolution, the pH of rain was generally between 5 and 6, so the term acid rain is now used to describe rain with a pH below 5. ...read more.

Middle

This mixture forms a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Sunlight increases the rate of most of these reactions. Rainwater, snow, fog, and other forms of precipitation containing those mild solutions of sulfuric and nitric acids fall to earth as acid rain. Surprisingly, the effects of acid rain on trees have overshadowed the effects on people. Many toxic metals are held in the ground in compounds. However, acid rain can break down some of these compounds, freeing the metals and washing them into water sources such as rivers. In Sweden, nearly 10,000 lakes now have such high mercury concentrations that people are advised not to eat fish caught in them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The SO2 created during combustion can be absorbed if an appropriate chemical (such as limestone) is present as the fuel burns. Once the fuel has been burned, the SO2 can be removed from the exhaust gases. Most systems spray a mixture of limestone and water onto the gases. This mixture reacts with the SO2 to form gypsum, a useful building material. All these methods for reducing acid gases are expensive, and have drawbacks, so laws have been passed to force businesses to use them. The best way to reduce them is not to use as much energy in the first place. ?? ?? ?? ?? David McClure Cause and Effect Paper 05/02/07 ...read more.

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