Acid rain has changed the face of the Adirondacks, created political tensions between the Northeast and the Midwest, and served as both a harbinger of global climate change and a "fire drill" for public-and private-sector responses to environmental crises. The history of acid rain research is a striking case in which a large-scale and long-term environmental problem was addressed in part through scientifically motivated changes in public policy.
In the 1970s, acid rain was viewed as a simple problem that was limited in scope and characterized by "dead," fishless lakes. Scientists now have broader insights into the processes by which acid rain sets off a cascade of adverse effects in ecosystems as its components move through air, soil, vegetation, and surface waters. Written and designed to appeal to both scientists and lay readers, this book is a landmark example of scientific communication that provides a comprehensive scientific history of the phenomenon, from its discovery to the full understanding of the scope of its effects and the ultimate responses that have mitigated some of the damage to the region's lakes and forests.