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If you think about statues made by the ancient Greeks and how long ago they were made you would think that they would be long gone because of the rain eroding them constantly. But they lasted so long because only very recently did CO2 levels spike and increase acidity and cause their destruction. Acid rain is significant since its high strength is a rather recent phenomenon.
With the burning of natural gases and coal, sulfur dioxide is released into the air. The equation he showed demonstrates how sulfur dioxide and water together create acid rain. Acid rain really hurts the environment, especially our oceans. Acid rain continues to be an environmental problem that is very relevant to conversations of humans impact on the environment today.
@Yun Su I'm pretty sure it's box 6E1 in the topic 6E section that goes into acid rain and how it's a regional phenomenon. I personally didn't find the textbook's explanation to be super helpful in understanding what exactly causes acidic rain so I did a bit of research and found that essentially a lot of human activities involve burning fossil fuels, which release quite a few different gases - two of which are So2 and NOx (nitric oxides in general). When these gases go up into the atmosphere they combine with water and oxygen and make sulphuric, nitric, and nitrous acids - and when they fall down in the form of precipitation (acid rain) it can cause damage.
I agree with the responses above; acid rain is just a biological/environmental example of CO2 interaction with water in the real world, as this is an "applied chemistry" course of sorts, so the main purpose was just to demonstrate the usefulness of understanding acid/base interactions and consequences in the real world.
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