Acid Rain And Climate Change - Chemistry

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Acid Rain And Climate Change

Destruction from the sky

Hydrocarbon fuels naturally contain some atoms of sulfur. When the fuels burn, the sulfur atoms are oxidised to sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide reacts with oxygen and water vapour and becomes sulfuric acid. This forms acid rain

The sulfur dioxide gas is usually carried away in the air and falls as acid rain far away from where it was made. 

Acid rain damages buildings, trees, life in streams and ponds, washes valuable minerals from the soil and releases toxic metals.

When acid rain falls on trees it damages the leaves. The leaves don not photosynthesise efficiently  and eventually the tree dies.

Acid rain causes damage to the surface of limestone structures as it reacts with the calcium carbonate in limestone. 

The UK government has pledged to reduce sulfur dioxide emmisions.

Methods include:

  • removing sulfur from fuels before they are burned
  • trapping sulfur dioxide released after burning fuels
  • swapping to fuels with lower sulfur content, such as low low sulfur coal and methane

Climate change and the greenhouse effect

Some gases in


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