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Essay/Term paper: Acid rain

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society

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Acid Rain


Acid rain is polluted rain. The pollutants go up to the atmosphere and when
it rains it brings the pollution down with it. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxide are the gases that form the acid rain. When these gases mix with moisture
it can make rain, snow, hail, or even fog. The scientific term for acid rain is
acid deposition which means when the acid is taken from the air and is deposited
on the earth. Major industries, coal burning factories, power plants and
automoble engines are the main sources of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide
which caues acid rain. Volcaneoes and forest fires also causes sulfur dioxide
and nitrogen oxide. Some of the many problems that come from acid rain is the
killing of of many plants and underwater life in thousands of lakes and streams
around the world. It strips forest soils of nutrients and damages farm crops.
Acid rain can also corrode stone buildings, bridges, and priceless monuments.
Acid rain can also be harmful to humans because acid rain kills the crops and
fish we eat, ruins homes, and the acid can release lead in the pipes and the
lead could go into our drinking water. It is hard to determine where acid rain
may fall next, because the wind from a pollueted area could carry pollution to
another area and the acid rain could fall there. The regions effected more by
acid rain is large parts of eastern North America, Scandinavia, and central
Europe. In alot of places acid rain isn't a probelm because some soils can
neutralize the acid and it doesn't effect the crops. Areas more sensitive to
acid rain is in the western United States most of Washington all of Oregon,
sectons of California and most of Idaho. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and a
large section of north east Canada. The soil in these places can not neutralize
acid rain deposits, then the nutrients are stripped which means the crops in
those places may not survive. The Black forest is a mountainous region in
Baden-Wurttemberg, in southwestern Germany. The valleys are fertile and make
good pasture land as well as providing good soil vineyards. No forest region
is showing serious effects of acid rain. Many trees are dying, the forest lost
masses of needles, leaving them with sparse, scruffing crowns. Their major
industries are Lumbering wood, manufacturing toys and cuckoo clocks. Winter
sports and mineral springs attract tourists.
Acid rain can damage and ruin soils by stripping the soils nutrients.
But some soils can neutralize and weaken acid deposits that fall from the sky.
These soils are called alkaline soil, also called a base. In 1838 the German
chemist Justus von Liebig offered the first really useful definition of an acid,
namely, a compound containing hydrogen that can react with a metal to produce
hydrogen gas.
Soil is formed when rocks are broken up by the weather and erosion and
mixed with organic matter from plants and animals. The term soil generally
refers to the loose surface of the Earth, made from solid rock. To the farmer,
soil is the natural medium for growth of all land plants. The rocks that make
up soil could be acid, neutral, or alkaline, another name for a base. Limestone
and chalk are rocks that are formed from tiny shells that are rich in calcium.
Alkaline is made up of calcium. When acid rain falls on alkaine soil the
calcium makes the acid become weaker or neutralize. Farmers put lime (a very
strong alkaine substance) and special fertilzers in there soil netralize the
acid in the soil on a regular daily basis.
In general, soil structure is classified as sandy, clay, or loam,
although most garden soils are mixtures of the three in varying proportions. A
sandy soil is very loose and will not hold water. A clay soil is dense and
heavy, sticky when wet, and almost brickhard when dry. Loam is a mixture of
sand and clay soils, but it also contains large quantities of humus, or decayed
organic material, which loosens and aerates clay soil and binds sandy soil
particles together. In addition, humus supplies plant nutrients. Then, soil
structure can be improved by digging in compost, manure, peat moss, and other
organic matter.
Parts of western United States, Minneapolis, northeastern North America
and east and north Canada are places in North America where the is more
sensitive to acid deposits then any other places. Many factors, including the
soil chemistry and the type of rock determine the enviroments ablity to
neutralize the acid deposits from the rain.
Soils naturally contain small amounts of poisonous minerals such as
mercury, aluminum, and cadmium. Normally, these minerals do not cause serious
problems, but as the acidity of the soil increases, chemical reactions allow the
minerals to be absorbed by the plants. The plants are damaged and any animals
that eat the plants will aborb the poisons, which will remain in the animals
body and can hurt them or even kill them. The harmful minerals can also leach
out of the soil into streams and lakes where they can kill fish and other types
of living creatures. The problem gets even bigger and bigger when pollution
dumps more minerals in the soil. For example, in some parts of Poland vegetable
crops have been found to contain ten times more lead than is considered safe.
Some plants need and require soil, and the farmers do not want lime to
be put in there soil. If acid requiring plants, such as some types of shurbs,
are put in alkaline soil those plants are very likely to start to look yellow
and very sicklly very soon. Even if the water you give to the plants came from
limestone strata it could neutralize the soil. Continued use of some types of
fertilzer may be cause the loss of acidity, too. If the soil does not have
enough acid in it, it may be made more acidic by the application of alum, sulfur,
or by adding gypsum to the soil. To add more acid to the soil you can also lift
the plants and replacing the whole bed to a depth of nine inches with acid soil.
It is not easy to make neutral soils acid. Sulfur is the most commonly used to
increase the soils acidity, but it acts very slowly. So acid rain is good for
some plants in some places with alkaline soil because some of the plants want
acid. Some acid requiring plants are several popular shurbs, including azalea,
camelia, gardenias, blueberries, and rhododendron. Soils can be acid, alkaline,
or neutral. The amounts of alkaline and acid in the soil influence the
biological and chemical processes that take place in the soil. Highly alkaline
or acid soils can harm many plants. Neutral soils can support most of the
processes.
Florida's sandy soils are naturally acidic, but the soil is easily
changed from acid to neutral or even a base ( base is alkaline soil ) by the
small amounts of lime and calcium that come from tiny shells often found in the
Florida's sandy beaches.
When acid rain falls from the sky it gets into the soil. The plants
only have time to absorb and store the water when the soil is wet. Then the
leftover water in the soil evaporates back into the sky where it becomes water
vapor, forms into clouds, and gets ready to rain again. It is the same thing
with acid rain. The acid doesn't stay in the soil. The acid evaporates back
into the sky.
Pedologists are scientists who study the soil. They classify the soils
according to the characteristics of a polypedon. There are ten groups of soils,
they are Alfisols, Aridisols, Entisols, Histosols, Inceptisols, Mollisols,
Oxisols, Spodosols, Ultisols, and Vertisols. Alfisols develop under forests and
grasslands in humid climates. Aridisols occure in dry regions and contain small
amounts of organic matter. Entisols show little development. Histosols are
organic soils. They form water satuated enviornments, including swamps and bogs.
Inceptisols are only slightly developed. Mollisols develop in praire regions.
They have thick organically rich topsoils. Oxisols are the most chemically
weathered soils. They have a reddish color and occure in the tropical parts of
the world. Spodosols contains iron, aluminum, and organic matter in there B
horizons. They form in humid climates. They are moist, well-developed, acid
soils. Vertisols form in subhumid and arid warm climates. They make wide, deep
cracks during the dry season.
Other soil groups are the tundra, podzol, chernozem. Tundra soils have
dark brown surfaces and darker subsoils than in arctic regions that are
underlain by permafrost. The soils can be farmed if they are well drained and
permafrost is absent or deep-lying. Podzol soils are moderately to strongly
leached soils in forests and in humid regions. They are not naturally very
productive for agriculture. Chernozem soils (from Russian for "black earth")
have a dark surface layer underlain by more lightly colored soil. They typically
develop under grasses while the temperate is cool. Subhumid climates are highly
productive, although they require fertilizers after a long use.



 

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