What are the effects of acid rain?
(Lansing State Journal, February 17,1993)

Acid rain is responsible for the degradation and destruction of forest, lakes, groundwater, buildings and more.

Evergreen forests are particularly sensitive to acid rain, four times more than leafy forests.  The acid rains affect the needles by disturbing the process of photo synthesis and the roots by disrupting the absorption of minerals.  An acidic soil brings aluminum to the roots instead of the calcium and magnesium needed for the growth and development of the tree.

In this way, acid rain can destroy entire forests very rapidly.  For example, in 25 years, acid rain killed half of the red spruce forests in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state.

Acid rain also disturbs the aquatic life of lakes all over the world.  As the acidity of the water increases, the entire food chain from plankton to the largest fish are affected.  In many lakes, acid rain has killed all life.

Acid rain also increases the rate of building corrosion and can destroy, over a few years, buildings that have been around for thousands of years, such as the Great Pyramids and the Parthenon.  On a less historic scale, acid rain is responsible for the accelerated corrosion of bridges, skyscrapers, statues and more.

The costs of acid rain, both ecological and economical, are astronomical.  It is important that measures be taken as soon as possible to curb further damage.

[ Back to Ask Science Theatre | Back to Ask Science Theatre Date Index ]
Back to MSU Science Theatre Home Page