What is Acid Rain?

Written by J.A Dobado | Last Updated on April 22, 2024

Water is necessary for life on earth and therefore its quality is of great importance. When the pH of precipitation is less than 5.6 we call it acid rain. Emissions of two atmospheric pollutants, NOx and SO2 are the main cause of acid rain formation. While in Europe and North America such emissions are decreasing, in Asia they tend to increase.

Acid rain affects the entire environment through a chain of processes and relationships. Polluted precipitation reaches surface water and groundwater. As it reaches the ground it activates aluminum and leaches nutrients, washing them into deeper layers. As a result, trees die, but they are also directly affected by acid precipitation. Polluted water causes significant damage to biodiversity. Areas threatened by acid rain are mainly found in Europe, the United States and China, close to highly urbanized and industrialized areas. However, large-scale transport of air pollution can also cause acid rain in areas located far from sources of air pollution.

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