Acid Rain - Essay

1338 Words Feb 4th, 2012 6 Pages
Acid Rain Acid rain, to our eyes, is not much different from regular rain, but the contents of that precipitation can be devastating to plant-life and ecosystems. Acid rain is formed in the atmosphere when gases such as sulfur dioxide are oxidized; sulfur trioxide is converted into sulfuric acid by a chemical reaction with water, or when nitrogen dioxide reacts with hydroxide to form nitric acid. The most oxidation reactions are with ozone, hydrogen peroxide, and of course, oxygen. There are many causes of acid rain, both natural and man-made sources of gases like dimethyl sulfide, which is the most abundant biological sulfur containing compound, and also nitrogen dioxide, but some sources are more plentiful than those. Different …show more content…
When acid rain falls, the corrosive liquids physically change the shape of the active site of the enzymes, therefore preventing them from breaking down the same substrates or producing the same nutrients. When an enzyme is eroded by acid rain, scientists name those damaged enzymes “denatured”. The acid dissolves the nutrients that already exist in the soil which hurts the plants right away and in the long run, but in addition to depleting the soil of nutrients, the acids can help to mobilize poisons such as magnesium and aluminum. Acid contains hydronium ions which somehow react with these elements and make them more available to plants, and since the plants are already desperately trying to suck up as much water and nutritional substances as they can, they unknowingly take in poisons. Forests inherit the damage in the soil, and especially the higher altitude ones grab the acid directly from the clouds. The acid damages the leaves and limits a plant’s ability to photosynthesize. It also weakens the overall structure of the plant, which would make it more venerable to disease and death, especially in colder climates. The forests that are damaged eventually look like a graveyard of trees. There is little biodiversity in the surrounding area because plants don’t survive in the acidic soil, leaving the herbivores and omnivores with no source of food. Acid rain

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