Which Is More Acidic, Snow or Rain?

Grade Levels: 5 - 10

You've heard of acid rain, but what about acid snow? It makes sense, of course, that if rain becomes acidic as it falls through the atmosphere, the same would occur when it snows.

Do you have an idea, though, if there would be differences between the two? Do you think one might be more acidic than the other? You can measure the acidity of rain and snow in your area using the pH scale and pH paper, which is available through scientific supply companies or in some pharmacies.

Acid rain, snow, or sleet is precipitation that is more acidic than pure water, which has a pH of 7.0. Normal rain contains carbon dioxide, which makes it a little more acidic than pure water. The pH of normal rain is about 5.5. True acid rain, however, can have a pH that's much lower. Remember that the lower the pH, the more acid the rain.

There's been a lot of research conducted on acid precipitation, which has been found to cause harm to lakes and the creatures in them, to forests, and to statues and buildings.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Science Fair Projects © 2003 by Nancy K. O'Leary and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide website or call 1-800-253-6476.

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