How Acidic Is Your Rain?
ES1807  Nitrates and Acid Rain

Nitrate ions (from nitric acid) represent the other significant human contribution to acid rain. Automobiles, power plants, and factories are the primary sources of the nitrous oxide gases, which combine with rainwater to form nitrate ions. Natural sources of nitrogen oxides include volcanoes, lightning strikes, and biological decay.

  !   Move your cursor over the graphic to compare the map of nitrate ion concentrations with the map of sulfate ion concentrations.

7. How do the areas of high nitrate ion (NO3+) concentrations correspond to areas of high sulfate ion concentrations?

8. What might account for high nitrate ion concentrations in areas that have low sulfate ion concentrations?

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