Acid Rain


INTRODUCTION:
John F. Kennedy once said, “The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet.” This vulnerability has never been so obvious as it is when we consider the devastating effect of acid rain. Acid rain destroys entire ecosystems and jeopardizes our health. The destructive power of this silent killer is evident to everyone who visits the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The issue of acid rain is not just a local problem; the effect of acid rain on the entire east coast is the worst in the entire country. I believe that we, as a nation, cannot ignore the chilling effects of this silent killer.


Currently, it can be seen that the acid rain is a great problem in our world. It causes fish and plants to die in our waters. As well it causes harm to our own race as well, because we eat these fish, drink this water and eat these plants. It is a problem that we must all face together and try to get rid of. However acid rain on its own is not the biggest problem. It causes many other problems such as aluminum poisoning. Acid Rain is deadly.


WHAT IS ACID RAIN?


Acid rain is all the rain, snow, mist etc that falls from the sky onto our planet that contains an unnatural acidic. However, the term acid rain does not convey the true nature of the problem and therefore scientists use the term "acid depositions". This is because the acid which has formed due to pollution may return to the earth as a solid or a gas and not just as rain. Depending upon the climatic conditions it could also come down in the form of wet deposition and dry deposition.




Wet deposition refers to acidic rain, fog, and snow. As this acidic water flows over and through the ground, it affects a variety of plants and animals. The strength of the effects depend on many factors, including how acidic the water is, the chemistry and buffering capacity of the soils involved, and the types of fish, trees, and other living things that rely on the water, whereas the dry deposition refers to acidic gases and particles. About half of the acidity, in the atmosphere falls back to earth through dry deposition. The wind blows these acidic particles and gases onto buildings, cars, homes, and trees. Dry deposited gases and particles can also be washed from trees and other surfaces by rainstorms. When that happens, the runoff water adds those acids to the acid rain, making the combination more acidic than the falling rain alone. Prevailing winds blow the compounds that cause both wet and dry acid deposition across state and national borders, and sometimes over hundreds of miles.


This term of “Acid Rain” was first considered to be important about 20 years ago when scientists in Sweden and Norway first believed that acidic rain may be causing great ecological damage to the planet. The problem was that by the time that the scientist found the problem it was already very large. Detecting an acid lake is often quite difficult. A lake does not become acid over night. It happens over a period of many years, some times decades. The changes are usually to gradual for them to be noticed early.




According to what I read Acid Rain looks and feels like normal, clean rain. Its harm to people is not really direct. You are able to walk and swim in acid rain as you would in clean rain. Normally, rainwater has a pH of about 5.6 because the carbon dioxide in the air combines with water to give a weak solution of carbonic acid. However, the rain now falling in the northeastern United States has a pH of between 5.0 and 4.0, which is about ten times more acidic than normal rainfall. Acid rain is an airborne pollution, which is caused by millions of tons of sulfur dioxide emitted into our upper atmosphere by utilities in fourteen states east of the Mississippi. Prevailing winds carry the pollution to the Adirondack Mountains where it falls in the form of acid rain, acid snow and acid fog! The Adirondack Mountains are the largest remaining wildlife habitat in the northeastern United States. In the