Monday, October 19, 2009

Dust Storms.. Not Just a Desert Phenomenon.

When you picture a dust storm you probably also picture sand dunes, hot weather, and a dry desert. What you probably do not think of is South Korea, yellow dust, and the "fall" season.

That's right folks, South Korea experiences a rare type of dust storm called "Asian Dust". Usually in the spring, in Seoul, there will be a low haze in the sky. One can usually assume this means that the yellow dust has crossed over from China, and we have to break out our masks when we go outside. During severe yellow dust storms you can see a residue left on the street, cars, etc.

The problem with the dust is that it's full of pollutants that are obviously bad for our health. The Yellow dust starts out in the Gobi desert in Mongolia and because of the lack of trees in China creates a dust storm. The sand combined with pollutants that include hard metals and carcinogens plague our skies here in Seoul.

This post comes after I received a text from my boss that read: "Tomorrow a yellow dust storm is coming in. Please wear a mask or scarf!" I guess it's unusual to see a yellow dust storm in the fall, but we will see what happens tomorrow. You best believe I will be breaking out the scarf and/or mask.

If living in a city with 12 million other people doesn't produce enough pollution and smog already, yellow dust is just an added bonus.

See below: The dust as it approaches Korea.


Reuben said...

This is gross. We must not have noticed up north in Yongsan, or we didn't care.

I remember very distinctly one dark, cloudy day in April last spring; Bernard was somberly surveying the skies from Dragon. All he said an ominous: "It's coming." And I said, "What is?" He replied, "Yellow dust."

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