In Korea, you know it’s almost spring when:
– you see a noticeable amount of dust on your cars
– people are wearing masks
– there’s a yellowish cast on the buildings around you
– the air smells a bit “off”
It’s generally called “Asian Dust” but in Korea, we refer it to it as “Hwang sa” 황사(黃沙/黃砂) . “hwang” is the Sino-Korean word for yellow, while “sa” is sand. According to Wikipedia:
Asian Dust (also yellow dust, yellow sand, yellow wind, or China dust storms) is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon which affects much of East Asia sporadically during the springtime months. The dust originates in the deserts of Mongolia and northern China and Kazakhstan where high-speed surface winds and intense dust storms kick up dense clouds of fine, dry soil particles. These clouds are then carried eastward by prevailing winds and pass over China, North and South Korea, and Japan, as well as parts of the Russian Far East. Sometimes, the airborne particulates are carried much further, in significant concentrations which affect air quality as far east as the United States.
How I love Korea’s four seasons: hot and humid summer, windy autumn, cold and dry winter and yellow sandy spring 🙂