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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 precipitation that is more acidic than normal rain.

2. How is it formed? Natural sources such as volcanoes or human sources such as fossil suels
Mixing sulfuric and nitric acid with water vapor

3. How does acid rain affect the environment? It can kill off plants by leeching off nutrients

4. Besides the effect on the environment, does acid rain has any other harmful effects? It can be harmful to
both animals and humans as well.

5. What two air pollutants are associated with the formation of acid rain? Sulfuric acid an nitric acid

6. What are the sources of these air pollutants? Volcanoes, fossil fuels, etc.

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

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

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

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, the higher the sulfur dioxide the more acidic the rain water.

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? They are in the
Northeast, where acid rain is most severe.

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

Use cleaner fuels, liming, and FGD.