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Hydrochloric acid: An overlooked driver of environmental change

* INCLUDES 'WHY IT MATTERS' FEATURE * This paper by Dr Chris Evans and colleagues was stimulated originally by the detection of unexpected changes in soil pH in Moor House ECN data.

Evans, C.D., et al. (2011). Hydrochloric Acid: An Overlooked Driver of Environmental Change. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45(5), pp 1887–1894. DOI: 10.1021/es103574u



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By bringing together observations from the Acid Deposition Network, Acid Waters Monitoring Network and ECN, the authors show that acidification in many parts of the UK has been driven not only by the deposition of sulphur and nitrogen deposition as previously understood, but also by hydrochloric acid (HCl) – derived from the burning of coal with a high chlorine content, and previously thought only to be a problem as an atmospheric pollutant in areas close to its industrial sources.

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