Formation and Effects of Acid Rain

Categories: Air Pollution

Acid rain forms high in the clouds in a gaseous form. These gasses stay in the atmosphere until they come in contact with rain that dissolves the gasses. A mild solution of sulfuric and nitric acid is formed. These drops fall to the earth and get into our water table beneath the surface. From there they are collected into streams, rivers, and lakes that eventually will lead to the ocean.

Rain isn't the only form of acidity that falls to the earth.

About half of all the acidity falls back through dry deposition as gasses and dry particles. The wind blows the acid particles onto cars, homes, trees, and buildings. The acid discharge is then washed from the surfaces by rain. The runoff adds to the acid already in the rain. And adds to the acidity of the water.

Air pollution isn't the only way acid rain forms. Lightning is nature's way of forming acid rain. When lightning strikes, it breaks nitrogen's triple bond, it then combines with 02 and then with water in the atmosphere to form HNO3. Acid rain changes the pH of lakes and oceans, which can affect the lives of plants and animals that live there. The rain also reacts to buildings made of marble. Marble is made out of Calcium Carbonate and when mixed with acid rain it forms Carbonic acid. This acid will decompose further to Carbon dioxide and water.

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This will dissolve the marble buildings.

Countries with a great acid rain problem have been forced to encase their sculptures in a transparent case to prevent corrosion. The only way to try to prevent it from occurring is by scrubbing the coal. This process gets rid of the sulfur impurities that could be extracted from the coal. This solution is very expensive but is the only way to remove the sulfur from the coal.


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Formation and Effects of Acid Rain. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Formation and Effects of Acid Rain
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