Acid rain is rain that is polluted. The pollutants go up to the atmosphere and when it rains, it brings the pollution down with it. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are the gases that form the acid rain. When these gases mix with moisture it can make rain, snow, hail, or even fog. The scientific term for acid rain is acid deposition which means when the acid is taken from the air and is deposited on the earth. Major industries, coal burning factories, power plants and automobile engines are the main sources of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide which cause acid rain. Volcanoes and forest fires also causes sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
Some of the many problems that come from acid rain is the killing of many plants and underwater life in thousands of lakes and streams around the world. It strips forest soils of nutrients and damages farm crops. Acid rain can also corrode stone buildings, bridges, and priceless monuments. Acid rain can also be harmful to humans because acid rain kills the crops and fish we eat, ruins homes, and the acid can release lead in the pipes and the lead could go into our drinking water. It is hard to determine where acid rain may fall next, because the wind from a polluted area could carry pollution to another area and the acid rain could fall there.
The regions effected more by acid rain is large parts of eastern North America, Scandinavia, and central Europe. In a lot of places acid rain isn't a problem because some soils can neutralize the acid and it doesn't effect the crops. Areas more sensitive to acid rain is in the western United States most of Washington all of Oregon, sections of California and most of Idaho. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and a large section of north east Canada. The soil in these places can not neutralize acid rain deposits, then the nutrients are stripped which means the crops in those places may not survive.
Acid rain can damage and ruin soils by stripping the soils nutrients. But some soils can neutralize and weaken acid deposits that fall from the sky. These soils are called alkaline soil, also called a base. In 1838 the German chemist Justus von Liebig offered the first really useful definition of an acid, namely, a compound containing hydrogen that can react with a metal to produce hydrogen gas.