The main chemicals in air pollution that create acid rain are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen. Sulfur dioxide acid rain usually forms high in the clouds when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with water, oxygen and oxidants.
Sulfur dioxide forms acid rain when the reactions are released into the air. The acidic pollutants form rain.
Where does acid rain occur?
Acid rain occurs in most of eastern Europe. From Poland northward into Scandinavia. Also, sulfur dioxide acid rain occurs in the eastern third of the United States and also southeastern Canada. Other affected areas are the southeastern coast of China and Taiwan.
Acid rain forms in areas in Canada because in the USA, winds blow the air pollution there. Sulfur dioxide acid rain affects trees, lakes, building and agricultural land. In the United States, acid rain occurs mostly on the East Coast and in the Appalachian Mountains and Northeast area.
How harmful is sulfur dioxide acid rain?
The ecological effects of acid rainfall. Or acid rain deposition, are seen in aquatic environments. Places like streams, lakes and even marshes are harmful to fish and other wildlife. Sulfur dioxide acid rain flows through the soil, and can leach aluminum from soil clay particles and then flow into streams and lakes. For humans and animals, acid rain deposition can cause respiratory diseases and can make diseases worse. Respiratory diseases like asthma or chronic bronchitis making it hard for people to breathe. The pollution that causes acid rain, sulfur dioxide, can also create tiny particles.
Dead or dying trees are a common sight in areas effected by sulfur dioxide acid rain. At higher altitudes, acidic fog and clouds can strip nutrients from trees and leave them with brown or dead leaves and needles.
Are there harmful effects of sulfur dioxide acid rain deposition for humans?
Walking in sulfur dioxide acid rain or even swimming in it is no more dangerous to humans than walking in normal rain or swimming in normal water affected my acidic deposition. But the particles formed by sulfur dioxide can be harmful to humans when inhales into their lungs. Many scientific studies have shown a relationship between these particles and effects on heart function, such as heart attacks resulting in death for people with increased heart disease risk, and effects on lung function, such as breathing difficulties for people with asthma.