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Name _________________

Period # ____

Date ____________

Acid Rain in the U.S.

Air Pollution Virtual Lab
Objectives: Define acid rain and describe its causes. Test the pH of rainwater samples and plot the
information on a map of the United States. Describe the relationship between the occurrences of acid rain
and sulfur dioxide emissions in the United States.
1. Access the following link:
2. Read the information on the left of the screen to answer the Prelab questions below.
3. Now that you know more about acid rain, you are ready to collect some data! Click a Test Tube Holder to
select a set of test tubes to test. Click a Test Tube to test the pH of the water sample.
4. Enter the state's pH value into the map. To do this, click a state, then click the color in the legend that
corresponds to the state's pH value. If you do not have a printer, record the pH values and SO2 values for each
state on the attached map. (Use the color key on the right side of the map to identify the pH of states that have
already been tested. There is no data for Alaska or Hawaii.)
5. Repeat steps 1-3 for all the states' rainwater samples then use your data to answer questions #7-12 below.
Prelab Questions:
1. What is acid rain? Acid rain is any type of precipitation that is more acidic than normal rain

2. How is it formed? Normal rainfall is slightly acidic due to dissolved carbon dioxide that is picked up in
the atmosphere

3. How does acid rain affect the environment? Acid rain is an environmental problem that can damage or
destroy aquatic life, forests, crops, and buildings, as well as pose a threat to human health by causing
respiratory disorders,

4. Besides the effect on the environment, does acid rain has any other harmful effects?
5. What two air pollutants are associated with the formation of acid rain? air pollution from burning
fossil fuel

6. What are the sources of these air pollutants? Pollution from coal burning in coal-fired electric power
plants contain

Data Analysis:
7. According to your pH test result, where in the U.S. is acid rain most severe?

8. Sulfur dioxide is the main air pollutant associated with acid rain.

9. Which state in the U.S. release the most sulfur dioxide annually?

10. Based on your analysis, is there a relationship between a state's sulfur dioxide emissions and the
average pH of its rain water?yes

11. How might you explain the fact that Vermont and New Hampshire, states with very low sulfur dioxide
emission, experience acid levels that are among the most severe in the country?
The winds blow all the clouds there way

12. Discuss at least three possible ways to reduce acid rain.

Use better energy soures dont burn coal and lesson the amount of driving