Monday, April 5, 2010

Acid Rain

Any precipitation having a pH lower than 5.6 is called as acid rain. It can be rain, snow or sleet. Acid rain is formed mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels and the resultant release of release of oxides of sulfur and nitrogen in to the atmosphere. These oxides dissolve in atmospheric moisture and are precipitated as acid rain. Normal, unpolluted rain has a pH of 5.65. So acid rain is defined as a rain of pH less than 5.65. As it includes snow, fog as well as rain, it is sometimes called acid precipitation.

Acid rain is formed from both natural and man-made sources. Main source of acid rain is the emission resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels. Mainly oxides of nitrogen and sulfur are produced from the burning of fossil fuels and these gases in the presence of atmospheric moisture turns in to nitric acid and sulfuric acid. Carbonic acid is another content of acid rain. Acid rain can also occur from natural sources such as volcanoes, forest fires etc. Mainly acid rain occurs due to human activities.

Effects of acid rain is much serious than thought by humans. It can cause death to aquatic organisms and even to plants. Different region have different capacity to deal with acid rain. If lakes and rivers are acidified, aquatic organisms may not be able to survive and can even result in the mass death. Acid rain will produce corrosion to marbles and other building material. An acid rain can even burn a whole tree. So the effects will be much serious if an acid rain is so strong in its acid concentration.

There is currently no easy solution to this problem. Only long term controlled use of fossil fuels can put an end to this environmental issue. If the current use of fossil fuels continues, the acid content in the acid rain will become stronger than it is. To prevent this conservation is needed. Natural sources contribute much less to the acid rain than human activities. So there should be a regulation in the use of fossil fuels.

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