Worst dust storm of the year engulfs Korean Peninsula

dust storm korean peninsula april 12 2023 00z f

South Korea experienced a record-breaking yellow dust storm from China on Tuesday, April 11, and Wednesday, April 12, 2023, with fine dust levels reaching their highest point this year and impacting almost every part of the country.

On Wednesday, North and South Korea were blanketed by a yellow dust storm originating from China, resulting in the fine dust density level in South Korea hit a record high this year throughout the nation. By 17:00 LT, the fine dust level in every region of the country was classified as “very bad,” which is the worst possible level.

The Ministry of Environment raised its yellow dust crisis warning from “attention” to “caution” at 07:00 LT, 14 hours after the “attention” level was issued at 17:00 LT on Tuesday. The warning was extended to 17 cities and provinces nationwide.

The yellow dust originated in the Gobi Desert and the Inner Mongolia Plateau on Monday and was carried to Korea by northwesterly winds, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

dust storm korean peninsula april 12 2023 00z bg
Image credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 00:00 UTC on April 12, 2023

The Seoul Metropolitan Government issued a warning at 01:00 LT Wednesday, with all other cities and provinces across the country experiencing “very bad” dust levels by 1 p.m. This classification indicates that the daily average concentration of PM10 has exceeded 150 micrograms per cubic meter. By 17:00 LT, PM10 concentrations reached 271 in Seoul, 218 in Gangwon Province, and 249 on Jeju Island.

The Environment Ministry requested that related agencies and local governments follow the “Yellow Dust Response Manual,” which covers outdoor activities at schools, requires outdoor workers to wear masks, and carefully monitors aircraft operations. The high yellow dust levels are expected to persist nationwide through Thursday before easing with rain on Friday.

Environment Minister Han Wha-jin urged the public to avoid outdoor activities and pay close attention to personal health care as the impact of yellow dust continues across the country.

A large plume of dust is now heading toward Japan and is already affecting many parts of the country, particularly Hokkaido.

dust storm 0750z april 12 2023 bg
Image credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 07:50 UTC on April 12, 2023


1 Korea hit by worst dust storm this year – The Korea Herald – April 12, 2023

Featured image credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 00:00 UTC on April 12, 2023

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