What is acid rain?

Acid rain is rain that has a pH level lower than 5. Normally, rain water has a pH around 5.6. A neutral pH is 7. Levels lower than 7 are considered to be acidic. Greater than 7 is alkaline. Acid depositions can be characterised by wet precipitations, like rain, snow, and fog, or as dry depositions in fine particles of gas.

The origins of acid rain

Acid rain comes mainly from natural events like volcanic eruptions, forest fires, oceans, or even the decomposition of natural organic materials. These events lead to nitrogen and sulphur emissions that assist in the acidification of the atmosphere and thus that of our rain. Nevertheless, the pollutants brought about by industry, transportation, energy centres, and our way of life in general greatly contribute to this acidification of the atmosphere, but also that of lakes and oceans, entering into the evaporation and precipitation process.

Consequences of acid rain

Acid rain weakens our planet’s vegetation by the acidification of the ground. The rain allows for the development of illnesses or even making some species completely “sterile”. Wildlife is also impacted by acid rain. Insects, fish, and small mammals could suffer from the reduction in vegetation as it harms their food source

 

Photosource : Mom the Barbarian, http://flic.kr/p/bjZb, (CC BY 2.0)