Since the bad old days of the 1970s and '80s, there has been a whole lot less acid falling on the Northeast. That’s mostly thanks to the 1990 Clean Air Act, which has made a big difference to lakes and streams.
There’s a dramatic recovery underway in New England. Red spruce, a tree species that researchers thought was doomed because of acid rain, is now growing faster than ever, and it’s not the only tree growing like gangbusters.
Something peculiar is happening to rivers and streams in large parts of the United States — the water's chemistry is changing. Scientists have found dozens of waterways that are becoming more alkaline.
Human activities are changing the water chemistry of many streams and rivers in the Eastern U.S., with consequences for water supplies and aquatic life, so reports a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Bubbling brooks and streams are a scenic and much loved feature of forest ecosystems, but long-term data at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest suggests that more productive forests might carry considerably less water.
Though not in the news as much as it once was, acid rain remains a problem. Power plants, factories, and vehicles give off sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions, which react in the atmosphere to form sulfuric and nitric acids. These acids are then deposited back onto the landscape in rain, snow, fog, or particles.
We ecologists take a lot of flack for always having depressing news to report. It's not often we get to say there is good news on the environmental front, but those of us concerned with air pollution have certainly had reasons to smile this summer.
Cary Institute scientists have provided leadership in acid rain research, but acid rain is not limited to our area—it occurs widely across the eastern United States, Europe, China, and other industrialized areas around the world.
Fourteen scientists and one engineer were named by President George W. Bush on May 9, 2002 to receive the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research.