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Acid Rain
What causes Acid Rain?
What problems are caused by acid rain?

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The major causes of acid rain

Acid Rain


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What causes acid rain?
Acid rain is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Burning oil, gas and coal in power stations releases Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere. Burning oil and petrol in motor vehicles puts nitrogen oxides (NOX) into the atmosphere.

These gases mix with water droplets in the atmosphere creating weak solutions of nitric and sulphuric acids. When precipitation occurs these solutions fall as acid rain.

What problems are caused by acid rain?
Acid rain causes a range of problems. Acid rain:

  • increases the acidity levels of rivers, lakes and seas. This can kill aquatic life. Acid rain increases the acidity levels of soils. This can kill vegetation
  • has been found to destroy the roots and leaves of forests in Germany and Scandinavia have been destroyed as the result of acid rain emissions from the UK
  • can erode buildings and monuments (particularly if they are made from limestone)



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