Acid Rain and Its Effects

Authors Avatar

Acid rain is not just rain as the name would suggest, but any form of precipitation with acidic levels below, as a guideline, 5.6pH (remember the lower the pH, the greater the acidity). 5.6pH is given as a guideline because this would be the pH of carbonic acid rain in average CO2 air conditions. However there are other gases that cause different types of acid rain, and some cause lower pH levels than this. This is why most people have now ditched the ‘5.6 or lower pH is acid rain’ concept. In actuality, acid rain is rain with a pH that is unusually low compared to it’s surrounding because it has acid in it.

       Acid rain is caused by water in any state (solid, liquid or gas) picking up gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide in any stage of the hydrological cycle. What matters is that as the acidic gases come into contact with the water and the two compounds become a mixture that is a dilute liquid acid. The amount of acidic gas the water picks up affects the acidity of the acid rain. There is more to this however, if an alkaline base is present in the water and all the acid is completely neutralized, though acid was in the rain, it cannot be called ‘acid rain’. Here are the summarized characteristics that make acid rain, acid rain.

Join now!
  • It must be acidic
  • There must be (an) un-reacted gas(es) present
  • It must be an acid dilute in water
  • It must be corrosive

The last point there shows that acid rain is capable of damaging buildings and life-forms. It is this that makes acid rain a danger and this is why we want to minimize this. True, there is little stopping the natural causes, such as volcanoes and decaying matter, causing acid rain, but this is nothing compared to what we have done.

       Occasional acid rain in rivers and other aqueous habitats may ...

This is a preview of the whole essay