Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Acid Rain

Acid rain is precipitation that is unusually acidic. It can be in the form of rain, snow, sleet,fog , clouds It can be very harmful to plants and animals that are found in water. Acidic rain is caused by emissions of sulfur and nitrogen that react in the atmosphere creating acid. Sulfur dioxide is the most important gas that leads to the formation of acid rain. On the pH scale, the common precipitation has a pH level of 5.2 with 7 being the midpoint. Higher than 7 is a base and lower than 7 is acidic. Some heavily industrial areas have precipitation that has been measured with a pH level of 2.4. Some of the lowest acidic precipitation can be found in parts of Scandinavia.

Not only is acid rain harmful to the plants it falls on, but it is also terrible for the animals. Acid rain often makes its way into streams and rivers increasing the level of aluminum which is toxic to fish. Killing plantlife and fish in the water as well as food for fish also, fish find it difficult to reproduce and eggs don't hatch.Acid rain can also be attributed to the destruction of stuctures and buildings, it rots the wood in houses and makes structures weaker. As if that wasn't enough, acid rain and fog has been linked to certain lung problems in children and people with asthma even people with good health could have their lungs damaged by acid rain and fog.

Acid Fog, clouds and rain damage trees in two primary ways the first being, that acid rain destroys foilage and needles on trees leaving the tree defenseless against certain things such as temperature. The second immensely damaging thing acid rain does to trees is destroy the nutrients in soil making it difficult for trees to grow. Acid fog and clouds generally have a higher concentration of acid than rain. Acid fog can be attributed to the decrease of Red Spruce in coastal areas were cloud coverage is abundant. Acid rain can also be accountable for lung problems in children and people with asthma on occasion people with exceptionally good health will develop lung problems if exposed to acidic weather for a prolonged period of time

Human beings are to be held accountable for the effects of acid rain. We drive the vehicles that produce these emissions we build and use the power plants that send toxic fumes into the sky. Acid rain is something that can be prevented, it is just like pollution. If we reduce our emissions, and help maintain a healthy environment then we will be saving our planets plant and wildlife.

Combustion of Fossil Fuels

The combustion of all fossil fuels follows a very similar reaction:

Fuel (any hydrocarbon source) plus oxygen yields
carbon dioxide and water and energy.

A simple combustion reaction is given for methane. The combustion of methane means that it is possible to burn it. Chemically, this combustion process consists of a reaction between methane and oxygen in the air. When this reaction takes place, the result is carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), and a great deal of energy. The following reaction represents the combustion of methane:

CH4[g] + 2 O2[g] -> CO2[g] + 2 H2O[g] + energy

One molecule of methane, (the [g] referred to above means it is gaseous form), combined with two oxygen molecules, react to form a carbon dioxide molecule, and two water molecules usually given off as steam or water vapor during the reaction and energy.

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Coal and oil, the other fossil fuels, are more chemically complicated than natural gas, and when combusted, release a variety of potentially harmful air pollutants. Burning methane releases only carbon dioxide and water. Since natural gas is mostly methane, the combustion of natural gas releases fewer byproducts than other fossil fuels.