5.5 STORMY WEATHER
(Level: 7 : 8 : 10 acad : 10 appl : 12 acad :: Acid Deposition)
Purpose: To determine how acidic the precipitation is in your area and determine what are the likely causes.
What You Need: plastic collecting pan :: 3 small plastic bottles with tops :: pH testing kit :: weather maps from the local newspaper
Note: Do not use glass for collecting or holding samples.
What You Do:
- Save the weather maps from the newspaper for the three or four days that precede the collection of the rain sample.
- When it begins to rain or snow, place a clean plastic pan in a place where it will collect the precipitation directly.
- Fill a clean plastic bottle with the precipitation. Cap it, and if you are doing this at home, place the bottle in the refrigerator.
- As soon as possible, take the bottle to school and measure the pH of the precipitation.
- Repeat steps 1 to 4 two more times over the next few weeks.
- Examine the weather maps for 3 or 4 days prior to the collection of each sample. Try to determine the origin of the precipitation and the path it followed to your area.
- Record your findings in a data table with the following column headings: Date, pH of Sample, Origin of Precipitation, Path of Precipitation.
- Account for the pH obtained in each case.>
- Why was it necessary to keep the sample cold?
- "Normal" precipitation (precipitation without acid input from human sources) has a pH of 5.6. Based on your results, how serious was the acid deposition problem during the period of your experiment?
- What is "acid shock". What effect does it have on amphibian populations?
Note: Success from this experiment depends on weather conditions, therefore, an on-going study could be conducted.
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