Acid rain


Here is evidence that climates have changed in the past.

El Niño This climatic change in the ocean temperatures of the Pacific Ocean occurs on a regular basis. The change is based on the dominant low pressure system over southeast Asia moving out towards the eastern Pacific. The surge of warm waters brings over warm winds which is called the El Nino breeze. El Nino has world-wide implications for weather conditions. It can lead to floods in some places and flooding in other places. It often brings unseasonal weather.

El Nino conditions


El Nino satellite photo over the Pacific. Note the warmer temperatures over the Eastern Pacific.



La Nina is the reverse of El Nino and therefore what are actually normal conditions. However, these 'normal' conditions are now more extreme. This means an extreme high pressure system over the eastern Pacific which can lead to severe droughts over western South America. On the other side of the Pacific there is an extreme low pressure system. This could lead to excessive rainfall over eastern Asia and lead to flooding.




Our atmosphere containes natural greenhouse gases which are essential for life on earth. Carbon dioxide, for example, helps to heat up our planet otherwise it would be too cold for most life forms. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are 'good things' but there is something as too much of a good thing!



Additional carbon dioxide gases come from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil Exhaust fumes from petrol engines are a good example. Gases from chlorofluourcarbons or CFC's also contribute to global warming. These can come from refridgerators, hamburger cartons, and aerosol spray canisters. A big contributor to more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is methane gas. This can come from our rubbish dumps, our enormous amounts of cattle manure, rice paddyfields, and other agricultural products.

The effects have been discussed and debated for decades but most scientists agree that the earth's atmosphere is heating up which could lead to the melting of ice sheets such as in Greenland and Antartica and therefore the possibility of flooding of low-lying areas where a lot of humanity lives. Global warming could also lead to more droughts which could lead to farming difficulties and the possibility of more famine and starvation. Some scientists believe that global warming could also lead to a new ice age in some places of the world since the melting of ice could impact the salinity of sea water as well as the currents of our oceans.

Even though the effects are still being debated, it is clear that humanity must prepare itself for some of the possible effects. Many governments are implementing laws and regulations which could reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

Kyoto Protocol - wikipedia article

Global warming 101

Award Winning Animation on Global Warming

Save The Planet

2009 Sea Ice Update

5 ways to save the planet

Global warming hoax


Acid Rain can be divided into wet deposition and dry deposition. Wet deposition basically consists of rainfall, fog, dew, etc which deposits itself as a liquid. Dry deposition consists of solid particles such as dust particles which were in the atmosphere.
The causes of acid rain usually come from industrial pollution where there is a lot of coal and oil burning going on. This pollution mixes with clouds and falls down as precipitation. Acid rain therefore enters lakes, ponds, rivers, and forests and other ecosystems which can lead to their destruction. Acid rain can enter soil leading to the destruction of soil nutrients. It can lead to the corrosion of buildings and water irrigation systems. It can be a threat to human health and some people attribute leukemia to the drinking of water which contains higher amounts of acidity. Acid rain can also be a political and environmental issue between nations. This has been the case between Canada and the United States as well as between Sweden on one side and Germany and the United Kingdom on the other side. We often refer to acid rain as a 'geographical exhaust pipe". What do you think is meant by this?
Some scientists say that acid rain is natural since rainfall naturally contains acids anyway. But of course these acids are higher in content than what we would consider to be acceptable levels.
Many laws have been passed to reduce the effects of acid rain. Increased use of filters and other methods to reduce the emissions of pollutants have been implemented which has led to a major decrease in acid rain in many developed countries. However, the effects can still be seen in many cities and forests. That is why in many historic centers stone preservatives are used to protect older buildings.




Acid rain distribution in Europe

Canada Site
Canada Site

Acid Rain and ...
Acid Rain and ...

Acid Rain and Case Studies
Acid Rain and Case Studies

acid rain q&a
acid rain q&a

The Sudbury region has a well-known history for very high local S02 emissions and associated acid deposition. Furthermore, it has a broad sensitivity to acid rain. The degree of historical damage to the landscape, combined with efforts of the Ontario government and industry to improve conditions, makes the Sudbury area an unintentional but important "experiment" on a whole ecosystem acidification and recovery process.
Of the 7000 lakes estimated to have been damaged by smelter emissions, most are located in the hilly forested areas, underlain by granite bedrock, northeast and southwest of Sudbury. As a result, sport fish losses from acidification in this area have also been heavy. In fact, most of Canada's well-documented cases of fisheries losses from acid rain are in the Sudbury area (not forgetting, of course, the losses of Atlantic salmon from Nova Scotia rivers and some sports fish losses in areas of Quebec).
Over 35 years ago, scientists began studying the lakes and ponds near Sudbury. Since then, a vast amount of information has been collected that has clearly established the damaging effect of smelter emissions on the chemistry and biology of water bodies. This information has since been widely used throughout Canada and the rest of the world in the debate for cleaner air. Dramatic chemical improvements in Sudbury area lakes have been observed following substantial reductions in local smelter emissions. Between 1980 and 1997, Inco and Falconbridge, the two major producers of smelter emissions in the Sudbury area, reduced their SO2 emissions by 75% and 56% respectively.
Overall, the widespread chemical and biological improvements seen in lakes of the Sudbury area demonstrate the resiliency of aquatic systems and provide strong support for the use of emission controls to combat aquatic acidification. However, many area lakes are still acidic and contaminated with metals.

Major SO2 sources in Sudbury, Ontario (kilotonnes)





Important Notices


The atmosphere is divided up into many layers. The lowest layer closest to the earth's surface is called the tropopause. This is where most weather occurs. The tropopause reaches approximately 20 kilometers in height and at 10 kilometers height the jet stream is located. Above 20 kilometers one enters the Stratosphere up until 50 kilometers. At this point one enters the following layer which is called the Mesophere and the final layer is the Thermosphere where one starts to leave the earth's atmosphere.
At the point where the stratosphere goes into the mesophere one finds the ozone layer. The ozone layer is essential to life on our planet because it filters out the harmful UV rays of the sun.

external image atmosphere.jpg

Chloroflourocarbons (CFC's) and other ozone depleting substances (ODS) are emitted into the atmosphere. They do not dissolve in the atmosphere. As a result, after many years, they reach the stratosphere. As the UV rays enter the ozone layer certain atoms of the ODS are released which destroy the ozone molecules. Although ozone is constantly being produced the rate of destruction of the ozone molecules is greater due to the increase in ODS which upset the balance of production and destruction. Consequently, ozone levels begin to fall and start thinning the ozone layer. This allows more harmful UV rays to hit the earth's surface.


The destruction of the ozone layer can have major health effects for humans. It could lead to an increase in skin cancer rates and eye problems such as cataracts. In addition, human-made articles such as plastics could also be destroyed as well as important human activities such as agriculture. Since photosynthesis will be affected, crops could no longer grow to maturity which could affect our food supplies. Furthermore, the thinning of the ozone layer could lead to the destruction of ecosystems such as marine ecosystems which are very sensitive to the rays of the sun.
Marine ecosystems are a major part of our food chain.

external image ozonehole.gif

external image process.gif

external image envi_index_global%20warming-ozonedepletion_clip_image005.jpg

Montreal protocol