Lecture 8 Acid Deposition Reading Summary

Summary of "Acid deposition: perspectives in time and space."

  • Anthropogenic emissions of SO2 and NOx are higher than natural emissions
  • That said, acid deposition is more than SO2 and NOx - although they are both important, it is also important to consider the effect ammonia can have on the acidification of soil
  • fertilizer production to sustain a growing global population has resulted in atmospheric NH3 emissions that, over the short-term, neutralize atmospheric acidity but, over the long-term, can cause delayed ecosystem acidification greater than that from NOx emission and equal to that from SO2 emission.
  • Human activities mobilize about 150 Tg of Sulfur and 140 Tg of Nitrogen annually
  • Nitrogen accumulation in the terrestrial environment can fertilize ecosystems, store anthropogenic carbon, and contaminate groundwater
  • The extensive use of fossil fuels in North America and Europe has dominated the global release of SO2 and NOx to the atmosphere. With only = 14% of the world's population, North America and Europe currently emit about 70% of each species.
  • There is a significant lag time between when sulfur and nitrogen enter the world's ecosystems and the most significant effects. Natural ecosystems can accumulate large pools of S and N before it is easy to detect significant change, which means that decreasing the amount of S and N moved into ecosystems as a result of human activity will not immediately change the characteristics of those ecosystems
  • Too much of the scientific study in this area has focused on the US and Europe. The remaining world is expected to increase its anthropogenic use of S and N in the coming decades, and at present there is little knowledge of how those local ecosystems will respond to added S and N. The effects on the global ecosystem are also uncertain.
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