Increasing Acidity in Lakes Is an Indicator of Acid Rain (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: Scientists connected increased acidity in forest lakes with decreased fish populations and renewed attempts to control and monitor air and water pollution to combat the effects of acid rain.
Summary of Event
During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, a network of measuring stations in Scandinavia indicated that the average content of acid and sulfate in rain and snow was increasing. In 1959, a Scandinavian fisheries inspector, A. Dannevig, reported the disappearance of fish in streams and lakes of southern Norway and southwestern Sweden and recognized the relationship between the increasingly acidic rain and the fish populations. On the heels of these observations, long-term measurements of atmospheric precipitation and snow melt from across Europe showed that a growing plume of increasingly acid rain was spreading across northwestern Europe. Observations such as these prompted American scientists to examine the acidity of their own water resources. Continuous measurement of rain and snow samples beginning in 1964 at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire showed that precipitation was quite acidic, with pH counts ranging from 4.03 to 4.19. (Rain is naturally acidic because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves in rainwater to make a weak solution of carbonic acid. The pH scale, which was developed in 1923, indicates the extent of acidity. It is a logarithmic scale, which means that...
(The entire section is 2027 words.)
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