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Acid Rain and Society

Physics and Chemistry of Water

  1. Paulette Middleton

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.pc2197

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Middleton, P. 2005. Acid Rain and Society. Water Encyclopedia. 4:377–381.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


The relationships between chemical emissions into the atmosphere and the effects of the chemicals on various ecosystems, human health, and materials are highly complex. Many harmful chemicals (i.e., air pollutants) chemically interact to form other pollutants, which are perhaps even more harmful than the originally emitted chemicals. The most prominent examples of these dangerous chemical products are acid rain, ozone, and aerosols. In addition, many air pollutants are thought to interact in a synergistic fashion to cause even more harm as a group rather than individually. An example of the possible synergism is the hypothesized impact of acid rain and ozone on forest ecosystems. Understanding the causes and effects of acid rain and related air quality issues has become an important mission of atmospheric scientists around the globe.


  • acid rain;
  • buffering capacity;
  • nitric acid;
  • ammonium bisulfate;
  • national acid precipitation assessment program (NAPAP)