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Posted Mon Oct 3 2011: from USGS, via PhysOrg:
Earth is having a bad acid trip, study finds
Earth may be overdosing on acid - not the "turn on, tune in, drop out" kind, but the "kill fish, kill coral, kill crops" kind. And it's shaping up to be a very bad trip. The problem isn't just acid rain or ocean acidification, either: pH levels are plummeting all over the planet, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Virginia. The origin of all this acidity, the researchers report, is humanity's growing use of natural resources such as coal, metal ores and nitrogen. Scientists have long known that certain chemicals can acidify soil and water when released en masse into the environment; sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides contribute to acid rain, for example, while carbon dioxide is widely blamed for causing ocean acidification. In their new study, though, the USGS and UVA researchers report that a worldwide acid wash is now being fueled by a variety of human activities, namely "the mining and burning of coal, the mining and smelting of metal ores, and the use of nitrogen fertilizer." This is dramatically reducing pH levels not just in soil and seawater, they report, but also in streams, rivers, lakes and even the air.
[Read more stories about: holyshit, ocean acidification, fertilizer runoff, carbon emissions]

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