Over the weekend just gone, Seoul and parts of Korea were blanketed in one of their worst Yellow Dust Storms. This is an annual event starting around the end of March and carrying through to May. Often the dust is suspended high in the atmosphere, not coming down until out in the Pacific Ocean somewhere, perhaps even making it all the way to the US and Canada. We used to joke when I was living and working in Jeon Ju that is was the Chinese giving themselves away to the USA. The Korea Times noted about the dust storms that:
The whole nation on Sunday was under a cloud of yellow dust blown from a Chinese desert some 5,000 km from here. The worstever (sic) yellow dust cloud forced people, who often picnic or hike in the mountains on the first Sunday of April, to stay home. The number of holiday-goers was about one third of those of a normal day. The density of dust was up to 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter, 10 to 20 times worse than usual.
There were a couple of other articles about it and the photo above was presented showing the intensity of the dust in Seoul.
It has been noted that the problem is the Gobi Desert in China, where various poor environmental practices over the years has led to a dust bowl which blows away each each year. Well, the Gobi extends into Mongolia as well and around this time last year I was travelling by train to Beijing from Ulaanbaatar. On the way, we passed the cause of the dust storms – shown in the other photo.