Development And Environmental Management : Csc Fall 2014

2521 Words Nov 19th, 2014 11 Pages
Sustaniable Development and Environmental Management – CSC Fall 2014
Instructor: Dr. Rostern Tembo
Student: Melanie Rivers
What is Acid Rain
The term Acid Rain describes any form of precipitation, including snow and smog, with high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. This can come from a number of sources including; the burning of fossil fuels such as coal in factories, automobiles, ash from erupting volcanoes and even rotting vegetation.
The release of the gases, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are released into the atmosphere where it reacts with water, oxygen and other particle matter to form nitric and sulfuric acids. This mixture is then returned to the earth’s surface as precipitation.
Acidity is measured using the pH scale, which goes from 0 to 14. 0 is the most acidic and 14 is the most alkaline (non-acidic). Unpolluted rain would have a pH value of between 5 and 6. When it becomes polluted with nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide the acidity can increase to a pH value of 4 and have been recorded as low as pH2.
When compared to average substances such as vinegar, which has a pH value of 2.2 and lemon juice which has a value of pH2.3. At this level acid rain does not appear to be that harmful, at least not directly to the human body. However, some species of plants and animals are greatly affected.
Brief History
Acid rain was first discovered by Robert Angus Smith, a Scottish chemist, in 1852 during the Industrial Revolution in Manchester,…
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