Taking a Look at Acid Rain

1462 WordsJan 25, 20186 Pages
Acid rain or acid deposition occurs when atmospheric pollutants, namely sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, combine with water vapour present in the atmosphere. (Morgan, 1999, p. 3) Acid deposition is a broad term which includes any precipitation that has a pH deemed to be acidic. When these pollutants, released from the burning of fossils fuels or the smelting of metal, enter into the atmosphere they combine with moisture before falling down to Earth. (National Geographic, n.d.) A chemical reaction then occurs converting these reactants into sulfuric and nitric acid which in turn will create rain that is acidic. (Petheram, 2003, p. 15) Prior to this, several reactions must first occur. Sulfur, which is found in nature in a solid state, must transform into sulfur oxide gas. (Morgan, 1999, p. 35) Sulfur dioxide is often found from industrial emissions and electricity generation. (Jakuboski, 2011) While it can be found in nature, it is not found in nearly as conspicuous amounts as it is from human pollution. In nature it is formed by bonding sulfur oxides with oxygen in the atmosphere, transforming the sulfur oxides into a gaseous state. Sulfur dioxide gases will then oxide to create sulfur trioxide. Finally, sulfur trioxide will chemically bond with moisture in the atmosphere to form sulfuric acid. (Morgan, 1999, p. 34) Nitrogen, however, remains a different story altogether. Nitrogen monoxide, which enters into the atmosphere as emissions from vehicles and
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