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What is acid rain and what causes it?
Question Date: 2004-03-16
Answer 1:

There are small concentrations of gas components(mainly from industrial and auto pollution) such as NO2, SO2 and others that are in air which is mainly N2 and O2 (78%N2 and 21% O2). Now when NO2 and SO2 combine with tiny amounts of water vapor the reactions give rise to NITRIC acid H N O3 and sulfuric acid H2SO4.

When it rains, the rain water will dissolve these acids and this gives us acid rain.

Answer 2:

Acid rain is rain that is, well, acid. It has a pH lower than 'normal rainwater'.

Acid rain is caused by the rain droplets literally containing acid within them. The four common acids in the atmosphere are:
Carbonic acid, H2CO3, which is formed by the combining of carbon dioxide and water (all rain is consequently somewhat acid),Hydrochloric acid, HCl, which is pumped out by volcanoes, Sulfuric acid, H2SO4, which is formed by sulfur trioxide and water, of which sulfur trioxide is belched out of volcanoes and certain industrial uses, Nitric acid, H N O3, which is produced by nitrous oxides and water, which are themselves produced by unclean burning of compounds containing nitrogen (e.g. coal).

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