Acid rain takes place as a direct result of the natural cleaning process of the atmosphere. The tiny droplets of water which form clouds confine within them the suspended solid particles and gases in the atmosphere. Among these gases are sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides which are them chemically converted into sulfuric and nitric acids. Other than this some sulfuric acid may of the effects caused by acid rain and the sulfuric acid present in it are:
• The acid may react with buildings and marble made structure by reacting with the Calcium carbonate and this reaction forms Calcium bicarbonate which is soluble and hence causes the structures, buildings etc to deteriorate.
• Acid rain can filter aluminum from the soil and make it get mixed with ground water, lakes or rivers. This can poison fish and many plant roots.
•Acid rain disrupts the process of photosynthesis, hence causing damage to plant life
•If the acid rain is highly concentrated, it slows down the production of chlorophyll and at high concentration it may kill plants.
The effect of acid rain;
Effects on Soils
Trees derive their nutrition primarily from element ions such as calcium, Ca, magnesium, Mg, and potassium, K that have dissolved from rocks into the soil.
Acid deposition adds hydrogen ions, which displace these important nutrients in a process called leaching. Leaching means that the ions are washed deeper into the subsoil or washed out of the top soil. If ions are leached from the soil, they are no longer available to the roots of the plants.
Calcium ion is used in the cells of a tree for cell formation and in the processes that transport sugars, water, and other nutrients from the roots to the leaves.
Magnesium ion is a vital element in photosynthesis and as a carrier of phosphorus which is important in the production of DNA. These ions may be unavailable to the tree roots because they have been leached away.
The effect on aquatic organism
Acid rain causes a cascade of effects that harm or kill individual fish, reduce fish population numbers, completely eliminate fish species from a waterbody, and decrease biodiversity. As acid rain flows through soils in a watershed, aluminum is released from soils into the lakes and streams located in that watershed. So, as pH in a lake or stream decreases, aluminum levels increase. Both low pH and increased aluminum levels are directly toxic to fish. In addition, low pH and increased aluminum levels cause chronic stress that may not kill individual fish, but leads to lower body weight and smaller size and makes fish less able to compete for food and habitat.
Some types of plants and animals are able to tolerate acidic waters. Others, however, are acid-sensitive and will be lost as the pH declines. Generally, the young of most species are more sensitive to environmental conditions than adults. At pH 5, most fish eggs cannot hatch. At lower pH levels, some adult fish die. Some acid lakes have no fish. The chart below shows that not all fish, shellfish, or the insects that they eat can tolerate the same amount of acid; for example, frogs can tolerate water that is more acidic (i.e., has a lower pH) than trout.
Effect on ecosystem
Together, biological organisms and the environment in which they live are called an ecosystem. The plants and animals living within an ecosystem are highly interdependent. For example, frogs may tolerate relatively high levels of acidity, but if they eat insects like the mayfly, they may be affected because part of their food supply may disappear. Because of the connections between the many fish, plants, and other organisms living in an aquatic ecosystem, changes in pH or aluminum levels affect biodiversity as well. Thus, as lakes and streams become more acidic, the numbers and types of fish and other aquatic plants and animals that live in these waters decrease.
The relationship between acid rain and corrosion;
Corrosion causes a lot of problems in maintenance. Machines get worn out, structures become weakened, appearance gets tarnished and metals like iron do not last as long as we wanted them to.
Yet not every wearing of machines can be attributed to corrosion. Erosion, abrasion and scuffing can also wear down machines. However the major reason for machine wear down is still corrosion. Why is that so?
We live in a world of chemicals and corrosion is a chemical reaction. In the process, metal is dissolved. Since iron and steel is used in almost every machine and structure, we particularly want to avoid corrosion in them.
Corrosion of iron and steel occurs only when 3 conditions occur:
1. A potential difference exists.
2. The surfaces are covered by an electrolyte.
3. Oxygen is present.
When petroleum burns, it produces oxides of nitrogen and that rise up into the atmosphere. There they get mixed by wind and undergo chemical reactions with sunlight and moister. After some days, the sulphuric acid and nitric acid particles falls as acid rain. So not only sulphuric acid is involved but nitric acid also plays important role. Due to acidic features acid rain eats into the stone surface at once. These particles settle into crevices and molding and the damage they create comes later. When the rains comes in contact with the deposits corrosion there.