Acid rain forms when pollutants mix with moisture in the air and fall back as precipitation.
The pollutants are mainly emissions from automobiles and power plants that contain sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and hydrochloric acid.
Acid rain causes harmful effects on the environment by lowering pH levels and affecting a variety of organisms. The most important impacts of acid rain on the environment are seen in aquatic ecosystems.
Reduced pH Levels
Acid rain occurs when nitrates and sulfates released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels combine with atmospheric water to form acids that fall as rain.
Scientists have found that acid rain tends to lower the pH of soil moisture and water bodies such as ponds and lakes. This can damage a wide range of plants and animals.
Many species of fish and insects are not tolerant to extremely low pH levels, meaning they may die off or become damaged from exposure. Additionally, fish eggs cannot hatch when the pH is too low and young larvae of most species are more sensitive than adults.
Decreased Calcium Carbonate Levels
Acid rain is caused by the reaction of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitric oxides (NOx) with water in the atmosphere. These gases are often released in fossil fuel combustion processes, such as coal-burning power plants.
The resulting acids come down from the sky in the form of rain or snow. They can also be emitted directly from the exhaust gases of gas-burning vehicles or power plants.
Decreased Phytoplankton Levels
Phytoplankton are an important group of microscopic organisms that live in the upper layer of the ocean. They are responsible for photosynthesis, the process by which they convert sunlight into food that sustains all marine life.
They are also responsible for transferring carbon from the atmosphere into the deep ocean, where it is sequestered until it is released back to the atmosphere as they die.
Several factors influence the composition of phytoplankton species, like nutrient availability and climatic changes, such as temperature. These factors differ in different regions of the ocean and even at the poles, depending on the climatic conditions there.
Decreased Fish Populations
Acid rain is a harmful effect on the environment that occurs when pollutants in the air combine with water to form acids. These acids come down in the form of rain and fall on plants, animals, trees and soils.
It can also corrode metals and other materials, including monuments and buildings made from calcareous material such as marble. It can also cause damage to fish, reducing their population numbers and completely eliminating species from a lake.
Decreased Bird Populations
Birds are a major part of ecosystems. They play many important roles, including pollinating and dispersing seeds; controlling crop pests; and helping to decompose organic waste.
The decline of birds has been an issue for decades. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring warned about indiscriminate pesticide use, and conservationists have long worked to protect and preserve bird habitat.
But a new report published in Science shows that bird populations have continued to decline in recent decades–and that some species are at what scientists call “tipping points.”
Decreased Aquatic Life
When acid rain reaches the ground, it can have negative effects on the environment. It can dissolve the protective outer layers of plants and animals, including fish.
The acid can also damage the gills of fish. This makes it hard for them to breathe.
Aquatic life in a lake or stream depends on dissolved oxygen, which can be low if the water contains a lot of organic matter, such as dead algae or other rotting plant matter.
Because of this, eutrophication can cause problems for aquatic life in lakes and rivers. It can lead to a reduction in fish populations, which will affect the entire ecosystem.