ADLib Glossary (A)

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Acid Rain - Definition

The precipitation of dilute solutions of strong mineral acids from the atmosphere. These acids formed by various pollutants including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen chloride and other minor compounds. These acid solutions then fall with rain, fog or snow. The acidity of pure rain water is around pH 6.5 whereas acid rain often has a pH below 4.5.

Acidification of the atmosphere is a major threat to the environment especially in the Northern hemisphere. Power stations and industries dependant upon fossil fuels are major producers of sulphur dioxide, and vehicle exhausts provide the main source of nitrogen oxides. Acid rain is frequently associated with the death of fresh water fish and the progressive decline of trees.

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