Science Essay — The Environment and Acid Rain

             We hear about acid rain all the time in the news, and it is essential to the earth's ecosystem. In simple terms, acid rain is rain that is more acidic than normal. All objects in nature have a certain acidity level, but acid rain has too much acid in it. Acid rain is a complicated problem caused by air pollution. Acid rain's spread and damage involve weather, chemistry, soil, and plants and animals' life cycles on the land and from acid rain in the water. Acidity is measured using a pH scale, with the number 7 being neutral. Therefore, a body with a pH value of less than 7 is acidic. On the other hand, a
             value greater than 7 is basic. The pH of 5.6 has been used as the baseline in identifying acid rain. Any precipitation that has a pH value of less than 5.6 is considered to be acid precipitation. Readings of pH 2.4--as acidic as vinegar--were recorded during storms in New England. During one particularly acid summer storm, rain falling on a lime-green automobile leached away the yellow in the green paint, leaving blue raindrop-shaped spots on the car.
             Scientists have found that pollution in the air from burning fossil fuels is the main cause of acid rain. The major chemicals in the air that help create acid rain are sulfur dioxide, known as (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Acid rain is formed high in the clouds where sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with water, oxygen, and oxidants. This lethal mixture creates a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Sunlight often increases the speed at which the reaction occurs. Rainwater, snow, fog, and
             other forms of precipitation containing these new sulfuric and nitric acid solutions fall to earth as acid rain. Acid rain does not make up all of the acidity that falls back to earth from pollutants. Only half of the air's acidity falls back to earth through dry
             deposition as gases and dry particles. The wind blows, and then these acidic grains are
             blown onto buildings, ...

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