What causes acid rain and how does it affect soil, plants, aquatic ecosystems, and humans?

Answer 1

The main cause of acid rain is the burning of fossil fuels containing sulfur compounds. Strong concentrations of acid are harmful to living systems.

Anhydrous sulfur compounds are created during the burning of coal or sulfur-containing petroleum products. When these compounds combine with atmospheric water, they produce acid rain.

This equation, which combines sulfur dioxide and water, yields sulfurous acid.

# SO_2 + H_2O == H_2SO_3#

Strong acids like sulfurous acid can destroy marble statues. High acid soils become sterile, unable to sustain plant life. If acid rain causes the water to become too acidic, fish and plant life cannot survive.

Acid rain has caused eye damage in humans.

For additional information, see these related Socratic questions: Why is acid rain harmful? How can it contribute to weathering? Why does it negatively impact plant growth? What is acid rain and how does it impact the environment?

Sign up to view the whole answer

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Sign up with email
Answer 2

Acid rain is caused by the emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the atmosphere from industrial processes, vehicle emissions, and burning fossil fuels. These pollutants react with water vapor, oxygen, and other chemicals in the atmosphere to form sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO3), which then fall to the ground as acid rain.

Effects on soil:

  1. Acid rain can lower the pH of soil, making it more acidic.
  2. This acidic soil can leach essential nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, which are important for plant growth.
  3. Acidic soil can also release toxic elements such as aluminum, which can harm plant roots and inhibit plant growth.

Effects on plants:

  1. Acid rain can damage plant leaves, inhibiting photosynthesis and reducing plant growth.
  2. It can also leach essential nutrients from the soil, leading to nutrient deficiencies in plants.
  3. Some plants are more sensitive to acid rain than others, leading to changes in plant communities and biodiversity.

Effects on aquatic ecosystems:

  1. Acid rain can lower the pH of lakes, rivers, and streams, making them more acidic.
  2. This acidic water can harm aquatic organisms such as fish, amphibians, and invertebrates.
  3. Acidic water can also leach toxic metals from the soil, further harming aquatic life.
  4. Acid rain can disrupt the balance of aquatic ecosystems, leading to declines in biodiversity and changes in species composition.

Effects on humans:

  1. Acid rain can corrode buildings, infrastructure, and monuments, leading to damage and deterioration.
  2. It can also contaminate drinking water supplies, posing health risks to humans.
  3. Acid rain can affect air quality, leading to respiratory problems and exacerbating existing health conditions.
  4. It can also harm crops and reduce agricultural productivity, leading to economic losses and food shortages.

Overall, acid rain has widespread environmental and ecological impacts, affecting soil, plants, aquatic ecosystems, and humans in various ways.

Sign up to view the whole answer

By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Sign up with email
Answer from HIX Tutor

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

Not the question you need?

Drag image here or click to upload

Or press Ctrl + V to paste
Answer Background
HIX Tutor
Solve ANY homework problem with a smart AI
  • 98% accuracy study help
  • Covers math, physics, chemistry, biology, and more
  • Step-by-step, in-depth guides
  • Readily available 24/7