Understanding Acidic Precipitation or Acid Rain

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Understanding Acidic Precipitation or Acid Rain Our atmosphere functions as living ecosystem of chemical reactions. Through the help of the water cycle, chemicals pass through the atmosphere and are eventually taken up by the soil, surface water, or organic materials. Human beings have added enormously to the atmospheric burden of many toxic substances. The most prominent evidence of this is the presence of acid rain: precipitation and particles that have been made acidic by air pollution. Acid rain is a direct consequence of the atmosphere's self-cleansing process. The tiny droplets of water that make up clouds continuously capture suspended particles and soluble trace gases. Not all trace gases can be removed by precipitation, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere are chemically converted into forms that are readily added into cloud droplets: sulfuric and nitric acids, the main acids involved in acid rain. The reaction cycle takes place in the troposphere. It begins when sunlight hits an ozone molecule (O3) the result is a molecule of oxygen (O2) and a...

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