Write your answers on a piece of paper or type on the following word document:

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are gases released by the burning of fossil fuels. These gases can react with water and oxygen to form acids. Normally, rainwater is slightly acidic. But the additional acid that enters the air when fuels are burned makes it even more acidic. Acid rain can have a harmful effect on fish and other wildlife and upsets the delicate balance of a forest or aquatic ecosystem. The good news is that it works the other way, too. Decreasing car and factory emissions can reduce acid rain and help wildlife.
In this activity, you'll find out more about what acid rain is, where the problem is most severe, and what YOU can do to help.
  1. First, let's take a look at which parts of the country are having the biggest acid rain problem. View a color-coded pH map of the United States. The darker orange colors represent the lowest pH in rain. Which states have the worst acid rain problem?
  2. Next, go to the EPA's What is Acid Rain? page. (use this page for #2-7) What is the difference between wet deposition and dry deposition?
  3. How do the compounds that cause acid rain spread from their source?
  4. The two main gases that cause acid rain are:
  5. What percentage of each of the two gases you listed in Question 4 comes from electric power generation that relies on the burning of fossil fuels like coal?
  6. Describe what happens when the two gases react in the atmosphere with water.
  7. The result of the the reaction you described in question 6 is a mild solution of what two acids?
  8. Go to the Measuring Acid Rain page. After reading the first two paragraphs, go to What is pH?. Scroll to chart of the pH of common household substances. Give the pH number and whether it is an acid or a base for each of the following:
Normal rain
Acid rain

9. Next, you'll learn more about the Effects of Acid Rain. Click the links below to complete the Acid Rain Effects table. Describe the effect on each of the following:

Surface waters
Automotive coatings
Human health

10. You may be surprised to know that your actions can help the acid rain problem. To find out more, go to Take Action as Individuals. List eight things you can do to reduce acid rain:

Activity adapted from: http://www.phschool.com/science/planetdiary/background/atmoacti.html