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Modelling Acid Rain

Because we can’t monitor acid rain in every place where it occurs, models are used to simulate acid deposition and the likely impacts from acidification over large areas.

Models, which run on computers, can be used to estimate the dispersion of air pollutants through the atmosphere. These models are called dispersion models. Complex dispersion models used to predict acid rain simulate the emission, transport, chemical changes and deposition of pollutants. They track the pollutants from their source to the points of deposition.

Models have been used to simulate acid deposition throughout Europe. Modellers from the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMAP) produce maps of pollutant concentrations and depositions for the whole of Europe. They also produce tables which quantify the contribution of each country to the total European deposition.

Monitoring networks provide measured information on acid rain to compare with model results and confirm model reliability.