Ah yes. It’s that time of year. Winter is over. Spring is just around the corner. Hope is on the horizon. The cold clenching death of Winter has almost passed. But not yet. While Winter is in its last death throws, it makes sure to fart out its last act of spite: Yellow Dust season.

There’s a lot to say about Yellow Dust and we didn’t talk about it all, simply because it’s pretty difficult for us to talk now. Hot damn it did a number on us yesterday. We don’t usually wear face masks out. I feel really claustrophobic in those face masks. And, hell, did you ever burp in one of those? It’s like hotboxing yourself in nasty gastric fumes. Not fun. But we’ll make ourselves wear them this time of year when the Yellow Dust levels get too high.

A few interesting things we read about Yellow Dust: supposedly it’s a lot worse because of deforestation: the sands would be blocked a bit if there were trees in the path of the wind that carries the dust. South Korea supposedly gave China a bunch of trees to plant to try to help inhibit the Yellow Dust, but China decided to plant them by highways instead, because WHUTCHU GONNA DO TO STOP US? No, I’m sure there’s a better reason for that. Right? There’s gotta be. Guise?

One thing we want to mention, if it wasn’t clear enough in our fumbling around with the topic, is that we’re not scientists and we don’t know the official terms for any of this. I know some people use a different unit of measurement, like PMs, and they measure the size of the particles or something. I don’t know. We use the UUUU-gram measurement, and we’ve found that the crappiness we feel directly corresponds with the higher the u number measurement. So, if you’re in Seoul and want to keep up to date with the air quality, you can follow the Yellow Dust Robot, or you can use this site if you’re not a Twitter user. Soo Zee just uses Naver for her info.

Side note: I remember when we first arrived in Norway when we started our European Tour last year. We flew right from Korea to England, but we didn’t leave Heathrow Airport. From there we caught our plane to Norway. When we got out of the airport in Norway, we freaked out when we smelled how clean the air was there. I was like a dog in a car sticking his head out the window sniffing everything like mad. It was so delicious. The difference is clearly perceptible. For those of you living in countries with clean air, don’t take it for granted. It’s lovely. I wish I could breathe in air like that regularly. I’m actually a bit worried about what the long term effects are of being in a place of poor air quality. How many years of our lives are we tossing away?

So, that’s it for our ramblings about Yellow Dust. Let us know if you’re in the area and you experience it, or if you know anything else about it.

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  1. In the UK, not very often maybe like once every 2 years or something we get sand from the Sahara Desert and this like sand/dust covers cars and makes them dirty. But I don’t think it’s toxic or anything but like I said before it barely happens.

  2. This guy ships Goat cheese and its fantastic!!!!!! https://www.facebook.com/waegfarm

  3. Just got back from our month in Korea and Japan, back home to to Scotland, and oh my god! The air quality difference is huge! Even in London the air seemed fresher than in Seoul. But when I got home to my leeedle island I felt I could breathe and didn’t have to chew air that had already been chewed a thousand times before. I’m glad I visited, but I wouldn’t be able to live there :/

  4. For me, my seasonal woes were mosquitoes so bad they literally formed clouds (of pain ;-;), in heat so hot and humid that you’d be soaked the second you step outside by both water and sweat, and pollen that could completely cover cars in a pretty shade of neon yellow. Southeast Texas sucks, man.

  5. We have clean air where I live. I will try to be more thankful for it. As it is, when I travel, as soon as I get close to home I literally roll down the window and gulp in the clean air. Yes, my husband thinks its weird.
    My new favorite snack: goat cheese spread with mashed mango on salt and pepper potato chips :)

  6. im from hilo, hawaii and the air is pretty clean here. the vog would probably be the main air issue. there’s not really a certain time of year, just depends on the winds. when it gets really bad the air looks very hazy and you can smell the sulfur. sometimes you can see it even though it doesnt look too hazy. it’s because of the volcanoes and Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 so there ya go.

  7. The dust comes from the Loess Plateau. This is extremely fine, ~400 microns sized dust particles. This travels across the Chinese industrial area and picks up all the pollutants. I have seen a rating of 1950 down in Gunsan (chart goes to 1000), I could not see the mountain 1/4 mile away. I use Korean Meteorological Agency Government website (www.kma.go.kr), down right now with everyone checking yellow wind numbers, also not a intuitive website for navigation. English site helps, but limited on services. Former Meteorologist, and yes, I can taste the dust today.

  8. Ok here in the Missouri we have pollen..LOL…yeah the news will tell us if pollen is High today or not due to allergies.. Also every day you can see computerized signs along the highway that will tell you if it is a Yellow Day or Green Day which means how bad the pollution is in the air..when its yellow it means its bad and for people to carpool as much as possible.

  9. I live in North Carolina (kinda like at the very middle of the east coast of the US) and any day now we’re probs gonna start getting this icky little green inch worms of dorm. They are every where. EVERY WHEEEEEEEERRRREEEeeee…
    Anyways, they eat away at trees and they fly on these long, sticky, nearly invisible strings of terror. And people run into them all the time and they eat people’s hair and GAH.
    Until they finally show up, we have 50-bajillion kph winds. Yay.

  10. Here in Cleveland, the Canadians have not given up on their mission to murder us. in Cleveland, everyone goes outside because it finally stopped snowing, then it snows out of nowhere. This sucks, but probably not as bad as yellow dust^^ Fighting!

  11. i grew up in a mountain valley with a city in it (salt lake city, utah) and during an inversion, the polution has no where to go, being in a mountain valley, and thus the air becomes very brown, and people are encouraged to stay inside as much as possible.

  12. Well I live live in Mendoza, Argentina and here you could say we have some sort of yellow dust we call it Viento Zonda. Sometimes it’s so bad that all social activities are suspended and it is very dangerous to go outside. But the difference is that Viento Zonda can appear in any time of the year especially during summer :/. The Viento Zonda comes with sand and some other particles and wind, the wind can get up to 200 km/h or more which can tear trees down. destroy houses and pick up cars so it’s pretty dangerous. I was once caught in the storm and trust me it’s horrible you can’t see were your going you can’t breath it’s pretty bad.

  13. Here in Iceland we have a problem with the ashes from volcano eruptions. Every time that happens the cloud shuts down all air traffic where it spreads, for example, the last time the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted (2010) it shut down flights all over Europe for a week or more. And down on earth the ash is a big problem too. It can cause breakdowns in cars because the ash has so tiny particles it can get everywhere. Children are not allowed out to play when this is ongoing, and people are urged not to go outside unless absolutely necessary because of the hazard. Last summer (2012) there was still ash flying around if there were heavy winds making it unsafe to go outside, two years later.

    The photos show how the cars close to the eruption looked after a few days. The middle one shows the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull nearing Reykjavík, Icelands Capital. And one shows how Icelanders reacted to the last time Hekla erupted, Hekla (a volcano) has been due to erupt for some months now, and it is known to black out parts of Europe when it goes.

    best wishes Hjördis from iceland

  14. Oh god in northeastern America we’ve had an issue sometimes during the summer when it doesn’t snow enough during the winter and doesn’t get cold enough and we get plagues of Japanese beetles. They’re everywhere, they land on anything and they eat practically anything so plants are reduced to skeletons usually by July. They’re annoying and gross and they smell when they die. And the freaking cicadas. MOST TERRIFYING THING EVER WHEN CLIMBING TREES. THEY ARE HUGE AND LOUD AND LOOK LIKE HORSEFLIES AND ARE EVERYWHERE DURING THE SUMMER OH MY GOD THE TERROR OF PUTTING YOUR HAND ON ONE WHILE CLIMBING A TREE.

    And there’s the year round potato/stink bugs. Which get everywhere. And are creepy and annoying and you can’t squish them because they smell like rotten eggs and rat poop and the smell doesn’t go away for hours. But they’re tiny and not very scary.

  15. P.S. If you wore a face mask ova’ here, you would be laughed at. People would see you as “SO the foreign whimp!!” NEVER have I seen any Israelis or Arabs wear them. Californians are more, “It’s cool dude” and are pretty laid back about wearing masks. They DON’T like the sticky nasty weather that comes with the dust though. Then it rains and that’s one of the few things we DO freak out about. Earthquakes, “eh”:)

  16. Shalom and Salaam fellow nasties:) (Would a Californian be a “golden nasty”??:) I am a So. California transplant living in Israel. BOTH places have dust storms. In Cali., they’re called “Santa Anas/Santa Ana winds”. We get them mostly in the Fall, but some in the Spring. In Israel, they’re called “Shiravim” (Hebrew) or “Hamsin” (Arabic). Yucky, sticky and nasty all ova':( Cars also look crusty, but usually they clear out (In both places) and the weather is great pretty much all year round:) Yep, very similar climates. Jerusalem is like LA and can have a light haze, but not like LA was decades ago!!! (I’ve seen photos….Terrible!.)

  17. I live in Melbourne, and we don’t get dust storms or anything. But almost every year we do get bush fires during summer especially during heat waves when we have like a week of 40 or above temperatures. The government does run a lot of awareness and on high risk days we get texts from the police telling us to be careful if we live in a certain region. But there’s only so much you can do. Sometimes it gets really bad and houses get burnt down and lives are lost, and the day after you can smell to soot in the air from the city.

  18. My sister went to Shanghai last year, and she had no idea it was yellow dust season. It was early in the morning so it was misty. She thought it was just mist but when she got back to the place she was staying at (she was there as a part of an art exhibition), they were asking her why she wasn’t wearing a mask and stuff.

    She then got really sick afterwards, and when she came back to NZ, she had this terrible fever and stuff.

  19. I have a question do you guys know anything about Sasang typology? or have been to a Korean medicine clinic?

  20. I didnt realize the yellow dust was that bad… i should start wearing a mask… it explains why my eyes hurt every day.
    I just use drops every morning.. thank you for enlightening me!!

    As for the cheese i dont remember if i said this before but i think there already IS a cheese botique.. shop. Thing. In Gangnam. Just heard rumors. Never been there.

  21. In Tunisia, in September, I remember going around in town and no one was out? My eyes started to feel itchy and I started to cough pretty bad. My aunts explained to me later that after the summer season ends, there’s like a yellow dust storm that comes from The Sahara and spreads to the whole North Africa region. It’s horrible but not as much as how the korean yellow dust storm is to you guys; people who go out don’t wear masks but they cover their eyes with sunglasses.

  22. I get itchy eyes & cough-y when I’m around dust normally cause I’m allergic (being in dusty places or when I clean my room especially).. I can’t imagine how bad my allergies would be if I were in Korea with the yellow dust (even if it’s not only dust stuff).

    Here, I don’t think we have many super bad things.. The only thing we really have to worry about here is hurricane season & the heat in summer (I’m in Florida).. We also have a lot of mosquitoes where I am, so if it’s been rainy/hot (aka summer) & you go out at night, you just get assaulted by them. Oh, which reminds me of “love bugs” who are harmless, but also LOVE to assault & bother you when they’re here.

  23. Umm…guys, that little “u” in the level reading stands for “micro” and is actually an “M” not a “U”. I’m pretty sure you know that already but my geeky brain won’t let me go. Engineer in the house!

    I’ve been living in Dubai for the past 3 years and dust storms are freaking awesome here, you can actually see it approaching in a Mummy-like scene. And I swear it doesn’t matter if you’re indoors, you still feel like you’re chewing on sand. Last one we had was about a week ago, it was sooo dusty there is no sun. Night time comes and the city is hit with one hell of a thunderstorm, too windy and with hail the size of golf balls. It seemed like a twister made of mud and ice. Spring cleaning took a whole new meaning -.-

  24. Back in Nigeria the air pollution level is fatal. the amount of smoke than comes out of exhaust pipes of vehicles is always beyond toxic levels, and there’s no law stopping them. all industrial cities and towns are forever covered in smoky haze, and everyones just going around breathing what used to be oxygen. we seriously need to adopt the mask wearing thing because ppl are constantly dying from smoke inhalation and lung cancer.
    as a kid i thought this was normal, until i left the country for the 1st time, think i was eight? we went to London and i experienced non-polluted air for the 1st time. it was glorious.
    been in the States for about a decade now and i honestly don’t know if i can survive in that kinda toxic environment as i am now. i haven’t been home since but i hear things haven’t changed much in that respect. i miss home…

  25. I live in Utah and every year we get inversions and have some if the worst air pollution in the world. What happens is the cold air sinks to the valley floors and then warm air settles on top of the cold air. The air doesn’t circulate and so it gets full of pollution. Super tiny pollution molecules float around in the air and get sucked deep onto your lungs. Lots of people have breathing problems because of it. Also, the longer it goes on the murkier the air gets until you feel like you never see the sun because of the murk. It will go on for days and even weeks. The only thing that gets rid of it is a really windy storm.

  26. The µg is short for microgram. The µ is a lower case greek Mu, but since the µ is normally not available on a standard keyboard, a “u” can be used in its place. It appears that the yellowdust robot is measuring the dust by µg per meter squared.

  27. Don’t think we have anything like that here is Southern California. But we do get a lot of fires in the summer, during the fire season is when we get really bad air quality. The sky gets grey but its all smoke and ash. The streets and cars get covered in white, its all ash. It gets everywhere, if you aren’t careful it will get into your house and it will just look like thick layer of dust. The sun gets really bright red – thats how you know that the “clouds” covering it aren’t clouds but smoke. And on top of that it gets REALLY hot. We had three wild fires in one year a while back, schools had to be cancelled because it wasn’t safe for people to be outside. Even during passing period, going from one class to another you would get all wheezy and start chocking. It was all the ash in your lungs.

  28. i suggest you guys watch the skit”the king of ratings” (from 39:58 – 47:27) from this one korean variety show called KBS Gag Show!


    Its really funny and mentions “fine dust” from china towards the end, as well the movie frozen, korea-japan relations, and home advantage in the olympic games… i found this episode hilarious!

  29. And then you became… The Eat Your KimCheese Crew. :D

    Also it’s rennet, Martina! Good luck on your next attempt! :D

    BTW… My “yearly disaster” is what you guys already know: ICE STORMS~! That was fun, but luckily not that bad every year!

  30. In Canary islands (Spain) we have the “calima”. This is sand from Sahara desert that, time to time cross the Atlantic Ocean and comes to visit us. It’s not so dangerous as the Yellow Dust but…this is the Spanish region where there are more allergic problems.

  31. I live in north Texas, and some years we get tornadoes everywhere, but I feel really bad for Oklahoma because every year like entire towns are obliterated from tornadoes. Yet they keep building there? Idk, but it’s really scary. And because weather in Texas is so ridiculously unpredictable, it literally can be ANYTIME of the year, though generally it’s between March and August. And there has to be storms usually for one to start. There’s been a bit of a drought so there haven’t been very many the past few years.

    Two Christmas Eve’s ago, there was snow EVERYWHERE, it was below freezing, the snow was a few inches high (which is a lot for where I’m at, Snow is a relatively new thing that’s been happening the past few years) and then we woke up Christmas day and it was like 75 degrees (which is ~25 Celsius I think?). That’s how inconsistent this shit is xD BUT I DIGRESS THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING I’M SORRY ;~;

    Anyways, because Texas is so big, everything is kind of spread out and sprawling, so I don’t think there’s really any pollution problems that you can’t get away from. And even in Downtown, while it’s noticeable to me because I’m kind of sensitive to that stuff, it’s not that bad xD

  32. I personally haven’t experienced Yellow Dust or anything like it here in Florida, BUT! My family is from Trinidad/Venezuela, and I hear from them about something similar. African Sand??? Something like that. Everything you described about Yellow Dust sounds EXACTLY like what they were talking about. From what I recall, during a certain time of the year, sand from Africa blows all the way over the ocean and into Trinidad to make their lives miserable. Cover up guys! Breathing in that stuff does not make for happy time!

  33. I live in the southern United States and we have really terrible pollen counts during the spring (which is especially bad for me because I have pretty nasty pollen allergies) so you’ll see a fine coating of bright yellow dust all over everything. The news usually tells the pollen count for the day and whether or not it’s healthy to stay outside for long periods.

  34. nope.. Sweden is super duper uber safe. We have really bad winters with serious slippery ice on the rode problems on some winters but…. err yeah that’s it. *I’m SUPER lactose intolerant (thank god not milk allergic) and I STILL LOVE CHEESE!* ^.^

  35. I lived in (and never left) Jasper, Alberta for a few months one summer. The air was so clean it was bizarre. When I visited Vancouver at the end of my trip I was almost relieved to breathe in the smog as it reminded me of home lol

  36. Make a tldr on ghosts paranormal-ly thing! Is that weird? Yes but I can’t find anything anywhere on it! Ps never knew what yellow dust was until now!

  37. Well I live in Hong Kong currently, so sometimes we get really horrid pollution that makes it impossible to see other buildings from the window. It’s terrible, and if I walk around for a while outside on days there’s a lot of pollution, I get really horrible headaches. So yeah, I know how you feel but at least there’s no dust particles here~!

  38. Technically Sweden doesn’t have much of natural disasters (besides some storms then and then, but I never actually experienced them), but Umeå, the town I’m living in currently is called ‘Björkarnas stad’, The Birch City basically, and my dad is highly asthemetic, so during spring he can’t really visit D:

  39. Singapore is experiencing the haze season. Not exactly same as yellow dust but similar. Over here it is basically due to forest fire from mostly Indonesia and wind directions blowing towards us . We calculate using PSI which is similar above one hundred is dangerous already. Last year our highest record in years, it hit 400. Malaysia hit 700. Indonesia, you basically cannot see the roads.
    In Geography, we learnt that it is almost impossible to stop because these forest fires are mainly cause by small scale farmers burning for land to grow their crops .

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