Unit 3: Atmospheric Pollution - Acid Rain

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  • Atmospheric Pollution - Acid Rain
    • Acid rain is rain that is more acidic than pH 5.6
    • Causes
      • Sulphur Dioxide (Sulphurous Acid - Weak)
        • Burning coal and oil, smelting sulphide ores
      • Sulphur Trioxide (Sulphuric Acid - Strong)
        • Oxidised by tropospheric ozone
      • Oxides of Nitrogen (Nitric Acid - Strong)
        • Combustion, denitrification, vehicle exhaust gas
      • Ozone (oxidised sulphur dioxide to trioxide)
        • Photochemical reactions
    • Effects
      • Non-Living Things
        • Corrode metals - damage to pipes, railways and power lines
        • Limestone buildings and statues damaged
      • Living Things
        • Inhibit enzyme action and denature proteins
        • May effect plant stomata and root hair cells, fish eggs and germinating seeds
        • Dissolves exoskeletons
        • Lichens may change in size, abundance and diversity
        • Respiatory problems
        • Increases heavy metal ion solubility- may inhibit plant enzyme action and be leached into human drinking water


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