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acid rain is caused by what?

acid rain is caused by what?

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Answers (2)

Gaby
1 month ago
Acid rain is caused by a chemical
reaction that begins when compounds
like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides
are released into the air. These
substances can rise very high into the
atmosphere, where they mix and react
with water, oxygen, and other
chemicals to form more acidic
pollutants, known as acid rain.
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.
Causes
The term acid rain was coined in 1852 by
Scottish chemist Robert Angus Smith ,
according to the Royal Society of Chemistry,
which calls him the "father of acid rain."
Smith decided on the term while examining
rainwater chemistry near industrial cities in
England and Scotland. He wrote about his
findings in 1872 in the book " Air and Rain:
The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology ."
In the 1950s, scientists in the United States
started studying the phenomenon, and in the
1960s and early 1970s, acid rain became
recognized as a regional environmental issue
that affected Western Europe and eastern
North America.
Though manmade pollutants are currently
affecting most acidic precipitation, natural
disasters can be a factor as well. For
example, volcanoes can cause acid rain by
blasting pollutants into the air. These
pollutants can be carried around the world in
jet streams and turned into acid rain far
from the volcano.
After an asteroid supposedly wiped out the
dinosaurs 65.5 million years ago, sulfur
trioxide was blasted into the air. When it hit
the air, it turned into sulfuric acid,
generating a downpour of acid rain ,
according to a paper published in 2014 in the
journal Nature Geoscience.
Even before that, over 4 billion years ago, it
is suspected that the air may have had
10,000 times as much carbon dioxide as
today. Geologists from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison backed up this theory be
studying rocks and publishing the results in a
2008 issue of the journal Earth and
Planetary Science Letters. "At [those levels
of carbon dioxide], you would have had
vicious acid rain and intense greenhouse
[effects]. That is a condition that will
dissolve rocks," said study team member
John Valley. [Early Earth Marred by Acid
Rain]
Sulfur dioxide (SO ) and nitrogen oxides
(NOx) released into the air by fossil-fuel
power plants, vehicles and oil refineries are
the biggest cause of acid rain today,
according to the EPA. Two thirds of sulfur
dioxide and one fourth of nitrogen oxide
found in the atmosphere come from electric
power generators.
A chemical reaction happens when sulfur
dioxide and nitrogen oxides mix with water,
oxygen and other chemicals in the air. They
then become sulfuric and nitric acids that
mix with precipitation and fall to the ground.
Precipitation is considered acidic when its
pH level is about 5.2 or below, according to
Encyclopedia Britannica . The normal pH of
rain is around 5.6. It is caused by a chemical reaction
that begins when compounds like sulfur
dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released
into the air. These substances can rise
very high into the atmosphere, where they
mix and react with water, oxygen, and other
chemicals to form more acidic pollutants,
known as acid rain.
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