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Formation of Acid Rain (Essay Sample)


The process resulting in acid rain and regions affected

Acid Rain
Acid rain, also called acid deposition refers to the deposition of wet or dry acidic materials from the atmosphere on the surface of the earth (Hess, Darrel, and McKnight 172). Although in most cases Acid deposition is associated with rainfall, sometimes the acidic pollutants in the atmosphere can fall with hail, snow and sleet. Acid rain occurs when the oxides of various compounds dissolve in water in the atmosphere. One of the compounds supplying acidic oxide include sulfur dioxide, which is usually produced as a result of natural means, for instance volcanic activities, burning of fossil fuel and extractions of metals.
Formation of acid rain
The major compounds that cause rain are the sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrous Oxides (NOX) (Asimov 96). The production of these compounds result from the combustion of the fossil fuel. The combustion of the fossil fuel leads to the release of the oxide compounds into the atmosphere. Acid rain formation takes place in the atmosphere through chemical processes. One of the chemical processes is the reaction between water vapor, sunlight and oxide compounds such as sulfur dioxide (Hess, Darrel, and McKnight 172). This result in the formation of the acidic substances for instance, sulfuric acid. Also, nitric acid is formed through reaction between water vapor, sunlight and nitrous oxide (NOX) (Isabel 76). The chemical process in the atmosphere, which results in the formation of the acid rain takes hours or days. Within this period the polluted air move randomly from one place to the other. Due to the random movement of polluted air, the acid rain falls hundred kilometers away from the source. The process of the acid rain formation can be shown in the chemical equations below;
1600200123825Step one: N2(g) + 2O2(g) 2NO2(g: This is the chemical equation of the formation
of the Nitrogen iv Oxide compound through combustion of the nitrates.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is formed in the same way.
1543050123825Step two: SO2(g) + H2O(l) H2SO3(aq). This is the formation of the sulfurous acid through
reaction of the oxide of sulfur and water.
189547593980Step Three: 2H2SO3(aq) + O2(g) 2H2SO4(aq). This chemical equation shows the formation of
the Sulfuric acid through catalysis of the reaction between sulfurous acid and oxygen.
This takes place in the atmosphere. Also, more nitric acid is formed through catalysis of
429577584455the reaction of the nitrous acid and oxygen (2HNO2 (aq) + O2(g) 2HNO3(aq) )
The two acids, sulfuric and nitric acids are soluble in water hence they are the major components of the acid rain.
Impact of acid rain on the environment
Acid rain has negative impact on forests, aquatic environments, buildings and soil.
* Aquatic environment
When acid rain falls on the earth surface, it run off and flow into water bodies such as lakes and oceans. With time, the acid accumulates in the water bodies and lowers the water PH. When the PH falls below certain point, it affects the aquatic animals such as fish.
* Effect on Forests
Acid rain has an adverse effects on the leaves and the barks of the trees. Therefore, it exposes them to vulnerable disease. The effects of the acid rain on forests is common in the Eastern Europe, specifically in Germany, Poland and Switzerland.
* Effect on Soil
Acid rain affects the soil. This is because it kills the most important micro-organism which are responsible for manufacturing nutrients in the soil (Hutchinson 133). Therefore, acid rain result in deficiency of nutrients such as calcium.
* Effect on Buildings materials
Acid rain corrodes buildings. This is because it reacts with the minerals used to manufacture building materials such as Iron sheets. Most buildings are worn out because of acid rain.
Acid Rain in Canada
Acid rain is a phenomenon of major concern in Canada. The waters bodies and soil in various regions in Canada, for instance Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are vulnerable to the impact of the acid rain because they lack alkalinity, which is very important in neutralizing acid rain. Greater percentage of Canada’s soil composes of granite, a hard rock which cannot neutralize acid rain (Miletich 175). Natural alkalinity is very important in minimizing the impact of acid rain through neutralization. Also, the acidic emissions pro...
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