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The Effects of PM10 on Rainwater pH in Kingsburg, California Over 2022-2023

Organization(s):Kingsburg High School
Student(s):Leyann AbdelFattah, Nicolette Fierro, Devyn Sasai
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
GLOBE Educator(s):Leigh-Ann Olsen
Contributors:Peggy Foletta
Report Type(s):U.S. Student Research Symposia (SRS)
Protocols:Precipitation, Soil pH
Date Submitted:05/11/2023
In Kingsburg, the rainfall had been trending more alkaline in its pH readings according to previous pH measurements of the rain. In the Central Valley, there are high levels of particulate matter due to the agricultural makeup of the region. The particles in the air are PM10, which are particles of dust from natural or anthropogenic sites, pollen, and pieces of bacteria and fungal spores (California Air Resources Board). The dust and spores in the atmosphere may cause harm to human health through polluting the air and causing Valley Fever from coccidioidomycosis spores from the soil being inhaled (California Department of Public Health). When some of these particulates get into the rain, they can cause the pH to become more alkaline. This is different from other regions in California, which tend to have more acidic rainfall. In our investigation, we collected data from each rain event in Kingsburg from November 2022 to March 2023, as well as the pH of the rainwater collected.. Along with that, we collected soil from areas nearby in both Kingsburg and Selma for pH testing. The pH of both the soil and rainwater we collected tended to trend more alkaline, which showed that there was a correlation between particles originating from the soil and the pH of the rain.