Episodic acidification of streams, identified in the late 1980s as one of the most significant environmental problems caused by acidic deposition, had not been evaluated since the early 1990s despite decreasing levels of acidic deposition over the past decade. This analysis indicates that episodic acidification of streams in upland regions in the northeastern United States persists, and is likely to be much more widespread than chronic acidification. Depletion of exchangeable Ca in the mineral soil has decreased the neutralization capacity of soils and increased the role of the surface organic horizon in the neutralization of acidic soil water during episodes. Increased accumulation of N and S in the forest floor from decades of acidic deposition will delay the recovery of soil base status, and therefore, the elimination of acidic episodes, which is anticipated from decreasing emissions.
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Persistent episodic acidification of streams linked to acid rain effects on soil