Define Acid Rain and Its Effects on The Environment

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If we want to define acid rain then it is resulted from emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) that reacted during rainwater. They become acid rain when pouring down after transported by the wind and the air. These combinations reacted because of oxygen, water and other chemicals to form nitric acids and sulfuric acids. They are mixed together before falling on the ground.

define acid rain

Where acid rain comes from?

The sources of acid rain like nitrogen and sulfur can come from natural sources like volcanoes. But they can also come from fossil fuels being burned. In general, common sources of NOx and SO2 such as:

  • Heavy equipment and vehicles
  • Oil refineries, manufacturing and other factory industries
  • Electric power generators or burning of fossil fuels to create electricity

Unfortunately, these acid rains are easily being transported by the winds and they can blow to far areas then making a problem because the acids are dangerous substances. Effects of acid rain on the environment are very bad because the rain can destroy freshwaters, soils, and even insects. It can also give bad effect for human health.

acid rain

Define acid rain in more details and its effects

The term acid rain was used since 1852 by a Scottish, Robert Angus Smith, he is a chemist who did investigation of rainwater chemistry in Scotland and England near industry areas. He also published a book titled ‘Air and Rain: The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology’ in 1972 to write more about his discovery.

Actually, the cause of acid rain is because of human activities in major rather than natural causes. The largest sources are factories, coal-burning power plants and automobiles on these days. These acid rain causes occur when humans burning fossil fuels which later create both nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. These substances being released to the air and then react with oxygen, water and other substances to produce nitric acid and sulfuric.

When the rain pouring down on to the ground, it will flow on the surface and enter water systems to further go into the soil. It creates a bad effect for the environment especially the fact that nitrogen oxides have known contributing a lot in the formation of ground level ozone. This is a pollutant which can harm human health and create concern to the environment when exposed to the surface. Not to mention they are very easy to transport via air and water.

Furthermore, the acid rain has so many ecological impacts on the streams, lakes, wetlands or other aquatic areas. The water become more acidic and it is dangerous for the fish and other aquatic living things. Even though some animals can tolerate acidic water but there is others species can be affected and be harmed by this kind of water.


Define acid rain is not only about where they came from or what effect they can bring but also how to prevent its bad effects. Many people already gathered info and systems to prevent the effects of acid rain since it can harm plants, animals, agriculture and human. There are many ways to reduce acid rain like using renewable sources of energy because they have fewer emissions.


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