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Effects of airborne particulate matter on the acidity of precipitation in central Missouri

Effects of airborne particulate matter on the acidity of precipitation in central Missouri

Atmospheric Environment 20(5): 965-969

The pH of rainfall in central Missouri was monitored at four sites during the fall of 1983. Several pH values were well above 5.6, the theoretical pH of pure water in equilibrium with ambient levels of CO2. Most of the higher pHs were measured on rainfall of short duration or rainfall collected during the first few hours of extended rainfall events. Furthermore, the rainfall associated with storm events lasting several days exhibited a trend of decreasing pH with time approaching values as low as 4.0 during the late stages of rainfall. Precipitation pH values above 5.6 apparently reflect neutralization reactions between wet precipitation and various components of airborne dust, especially clays and carbonates. During extended rainfalls, the neutralization effects gradually diminish as suspended dust is washed from the atmosphere yielding more accurate values of the wet precipitation pH. The results of this study suggest that airborne particulate matter generated from the dust bowl region of the USA may affect the chemistry of precipitaton in areas hundreds of km downwind.

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Accession: 001351628

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DOI: 10.1016/0004-6981(86)90280-5

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