What’s Up Weather with Jordyn: What’s up with acid rain?


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Have you ever heard of acid rain? Rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow, hail, and fog with higher amounts of acid are all considered acid rain. Now, although this type of precipitation is dangerous, it does not look, feel or seem any different than normal rainfall. 

All precipitation contains some acid, but when too much acid is formed within precipitation, then it is considered acid rain. How much acid within rainfall is recorded using the PH scale, which just defines how basic or acidic watery substances are.

The lower the PH value, the more acidic a substance is. Normal rain has a PH value of 5.0-5.50, whereas acid rain has a PH value of 4. 

Acid rain formation is just one resulting factor of pollution. Chemical pollution released into the atmosphere through vehicle exhaust and factory emissions create acid gases. For example, pollutants release sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which turn acidic when mixed with the water and air in our atmosphere.

These acidic gases are literally defined as poisonous. After these acidic gases form, the wind blows them into rain clouds and acid rain falls. 

Acid rainfall is common in the eastern United States, this is especially true for the Mid-Atlantic States. Unfortunately, it causes damage to plant life, damaging trees, forests, vegetation and crops.

Once it enters our waterways, fish and other living organisms are exposed to acid. This exposure causes fish to die or their eggs never hatch. Acid rain can also cause respiratory problems in people.. 

Although the amount of acid rain produced is way less than it was 50 years ago, it still remains a problem. Once all that extra acid is released into ecosystems, it cannot be taken out, meaning the effects are irreversible.

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