How does Acid Rain affect Climate change?
During the studies of rainwater chemistry in industrial centers in England and Scotland in 1852, Scottish scientist Robert Angus Smith coined the phrase acid rain for the first time. His work, Air and Rain: The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology, was heavily influenced by this occurrence (1872).
It was not identified as a major environmental hazard impacting significant regions of western Europe and eastern North America until the late 1960s and early 1970s, though. Acid rain occurs in Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia, among other places. It is sometimes overshadowed by climate change as a worldwide environmental problem.
Individuals may question what they can do in their daily lives to mitigate the catastrophic repercussions of our climate emergency as more scientists grow frightened about the approaching, apocalyptic effects of our climate emergency.
Acid rain, also known as acid deposition, is any type of precipitation that contains acidic components such as sulfuric or nitric acid and falls to the earth from the sky, wet or dry. This may be seen in acidic rain, snow, fog, hail, and even dust.
●⫸ Why does Acid Rain occur?
Acid rain is caused by the emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) into the atmosphere, which is transported by wind and air currents. SO2 and NOX combine with water, oxygen, and other molecules to produce sulfuric and nitric acids. After that, they’re combined with water and other components before being discharged into the environment.
While some of the SO2 and NOX that cause acid rain originate from natural sources such as volcanoes, the bulk comes from fossil fuel burning. The main sources of SO2 and NOX in the atmosphere are as follows:
◉ Fossil fuels are burned to create power. Electric power plants are responsible for two-thirds of SO2 and one-fourth of NOX emissions in the atmosphere.
◉ Vehicles and heavy machinery.
◉ Manufacturing, oil refineries, and other industries are only a handful of the many.
It is an issue for everyone, not just those who live near these sources, because the wind may carry SO2 and NOX across great distances and borders.
●⫸ What are the effects of Acid rain?
In acid-sensitive environments, acid deposition can harm biodiversity and reduce the pH of surface waters. It weakens trees and makes them more vulnerable to other stresses such as drought, harsh cold, and pests.
Acid rain depletes the soil of key plant nutrients and buffers, such as calcium and magnesium, in acid-sensitive locations, and can liberate aluminum in its deadly dissolved form, which is bonded to soil particles and rock.
It causes the degradation of limestone and marble structures and monuments by contributing to the corrosion of surfaces exposed to air pollution. Although Acid rain has been greatly decreased in certain locations, it continues to be a serious environmental hazard within and downstream of major industrial and agricultural sectors across the world.
●⫸ How does Acid Rain affect Climate change?
Climate change and Acid rain are both caused by anthropogenic emissions. When we evaluate the total amount of gases and pollutants generated by automobiles or coal-fired power plants, we can see that climate change and Acid rain are becoming more severe.
◉ Climate change is exacerbated by acid rain, which pollutes the environment:
Acid rain-producing coal-fired power plants, for example, also generate large amounts of carbon dioxide, which hastens climate change. The coal industry released 65 percent of CO2 emissions in the electric sector in 2018, according to the US Energy Information Administration…1,150 that’s million metric tonnes of CO2 spewed in a single year.
As a result, shifting to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower will reduce harmful GHG emissions while also reducing Acid rain deposition.
◉ A lake that has been impacted by acid rain is more vulnerable to climate change:
According to a study released by an aquatic scientist at Oregon State University and co-authors from Syracuse and Cornell Universities, clean lakes with low levels of plankton and dissolved organic matter in the water as a result of Acid rain rendered trout populations more vulnerable.
Trout, on the other hand, found sanctuary from warming consequences in lakes that had recovered from Acid rain damage, with darker waters where sun rays couldn’t reach as deep.
◉ Acidification is caused by climate change, so it’s a double whammy:
Scientific models and analysis were used in a 2012 publication published by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to illustrate how climate change was increasing and will continue to increase the acidity of northeastern streams and forests.
According to the article, “scientists have determined that today’s higher atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) level and associated air fallout is influencing the hydrology and water quality of forested watersheds in a similar manner to Acid rain.”
Climate change’s effects are already being seen; but, based on scientific evidence and estimates, we should expect much greater changes in the future.
For example, if present emissions levels are maintained, New York would see an 11°F increase in temperature and a five-inch increase in annual precipitation (rainfall) by the end of the century. Winters will be shorter and warmer as a result of these predicted changes, and spring floods will be more severe.
●⫸ How to Prevent Acid Rain?
Limiting the quantity of sulfuric dioxide and nitrous oxide emitted into the atmosphere is the most effective strategy to prevent the occurrence of Acid rain. Since 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency has forced firms that release these two pollutants (namely, those that burn fossil fuels to generate electricity) to reduce their emissions significantly.
Although Acid rain may appear to be a major issue, there are numerous things you can do as an individual to help avoid it. Any action you do to preserve energy reduces the number of fossil fuels used to generate that energy, lowering the amount of Acid rain produced.
What can you do to save energy? Purchase energy-efficient appliances; carpool, take public transit, walk, or bike wherever feasible; set your thermostat to a low temperature in the winter and a high temperature in the summer; insulate your home; and switch off lights, computers, and appliances when not in use.
Stopping Acid rain caused by humans can be accomplished in several ways. According to the EPA, regulating emissions from automobiles and buildings is a critical step. This may be accomplished by limiting the usage of fossil fuels and focusing on more environmentally friendly energy sources like solar and wind power.
Additionally, each individual may contribute by lowering their automobile usage. According to the EPA, taking public transit, walking, riding a bike, or carpooling are all smart places to start. People may also cut back on their consumption of energy, which is often generated from fossil fuels or converted to a solar-powered system. Many electrical providers offer solar packages to their consumers that do not require installation and are rather inexpensive.