Asian Dust


Asian Dust
Yellow Dust
S2001080041432.L1A HJMS.ChinaDust md.jpg
Dust clouds leaving mainland China and traveling toward Korea and Japan.
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Japanese name
Kanji
Kana こうさ
Korean name
Hangul 황사
Hanja 黃沙
alternatively 黃砂
Vietnamese name
Quốc ngữ Hoàng sa (Sino-Viet.)
bão cát vàng (native)

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, 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.

In the last decade or so, it has become a serious problem due to the increase of industrial pollutants contained in the dust and intensified desertification in China causing longer and more frequent occurrences, as well as in the last few decades when the Aral Sea of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan started drying up due to the diversion of the Amu River and Syr River following a Soviet agricultural program to irrigate Central Asian deserts, mainly for cotton plantations.

Contents

Pollutants

Sulfur (an acid rain component), soot, ash, carbon monoxide, and other toxic pollutants including heavy metals (such as mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, lead, zinc, copper) and other carcinogens, often accompany the dust storms, as well as viruses, bacteria, fungi, pesticides, antibiotics, asbestos, herbicides, plastic ingredients, combustion products as well as hormone mimicking phthalates. Though scientists have known that intercontinental dust plumes can ferry bacteria and viruses, "most people had assumed that the [sun's] ultraviolet light would sterilize these clouds," says microbiologist Dale W. Griffin, also with the USGS in St. Petersburg. "We now find that isn't true." [1]

Effects

Dust deposition in Beijing during the 2006 season.

Areas affected by the dust experience decreased visibility and the dust is known to cause a variety of health problems, not limited to sore throat and asthma in otherwise healthy people. Often, people are advised to avoid or minimize outdoor activities, depending on severity of storms. For those already with asthma or respiratory infections, it can be fatal. The dust has been shown to increase the daily mortality rate in one affected region by 1.7%.

Although sand itself is not necessarily harmful to soil, due to sulphur emissions and the resulting acid rain, the storms also destroy farmland by degrading the soil, and deposits of ash and soot and heavy metals as well as potentially dangerous biomatter blanket the ground with contaminants including croplands, aquifers, etc. The dust storms also affect wildlife particularly hard, destroying crops, habitat, and toxic metals interfering with reproduction. Coral are hit particularly hard. Toxic metals propagate up the food chain, e.g. from fish to higher mammals. Air visibility is reduced, including canceled flights, ground travel, outdoor activities, and can be correlated to significant loss of economic activity. Japan has reported washed clothes stained yellow.

Korea Times has reported it costing 3 million won (US $3,000), 6000 gallons of water, and 6 hours to simply clean one jumbo jet.[2]

Severity

Asian Dust obscures the sun over Aizu-Wakamatsu, Japan on April 2nd, 2007

Shanghai on April 3, 2007 recorded an air quality index of 500.[3] In the US, a 300 is considered "Hazardous" and anything over 200 is "Unhealthy". Desertification has intensified in China, as 1,740,000 km² of land are "dry", it disrupts the lives of 400 million people and causes direct economic losses of 54 billion yuan ($7 billion) a year, SFA figures show.[4] These figures probably vastly underestimate, as they just take into account direct effects, without including medical, pollution, and other secondary effects, as well as effects to neighboring nations.

El Niño plays a role in Asian dust storms, because ice sheets that form in winter can keep dust from sweeping off the land.[citation needed]

Mitigation

In recent years, South Korea and the People's Republic of China have participated in reforestation efforts in the source region. However, this has not affected the problem in any significant way. In April 2006, South Korean meteorologists reported the worst yellow dust storm in four years.[5]

China also has taken steps, with international support, to plant trees in desert areas, including a claim of 12 billion trees planted. However, the winds are so strong in some places that the trees simply topple or are buried in sand.

In 2007, South Korea sent several thousand trees to help block the migration of the yellow dust. These trees, however, were planted only by highways, because the People's Republic of China stated to South Korea that they could receive the trees but that they would decide where the trees would be planted.

Composition

An analysis of Asian Dust clouds conducted in China in 2001 showed them to contain high concentrations of silicon (24-32%), aluminum (5.9-7.4%), calcium (6.2-12%), and iron, numerous toxic substances were also present, as it is thought that heavier materials (such as poisonous mercury and cadmium from coal burning) settle out of the clouds closer to the origin.

However, Sarah O'Hara of the University of Nottingham in England, writing for the Lancet says that this doesn't mean that the effects are worse closer to the source. People further from the source of the dust are more often exposed to nearly invisible, fine dust particles that they can unknowingly inhale deep into their lungs, as coarse dust is too big to be deeply inhaled.[1] After inhalation, it can cause long term scarring of lung tissue as well as induce cancer and lung disease.

An American study analyzing the composition of dust events over Colorado also points to the presence of carbon monoxide, possibly incorporated in the clouds as they passed over industrialized regions of Asia.

Historical reports

Some of the earliest written records of dust storm activity are recorded in the ancient Chinese literature.[6] It is believed that the earliest Chinese dust storm record was found in the Zhu Shu Ji Nian (Chinese: 竹书纪年; English: the Bamboo Annals).[7] The record said: in the fifth year of Di Xin (1150 BC, Di xin was the Era Name of the King Di Xin of Shang Dynasty, it rained dust at Bo (Bo is a place in Henan Province in China; in Classical Chinese: 帝辛五年,雨土于亳).

The first known record of an Asian Dust event in Korea was in 174 AD during the Silla Dynasty.[8] The dust was known as "Uto (우토, 雨土)", meaning 'Raining Sands', and was believed at the time to be the result of an angry god sending down dust instead of rain or snow.

Specific records referring to Asian Dust events in Korea also exist from the Baekje, Goguryeo, and Joseon periods.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Ill Winds". Science News Online. http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20011006/bob13.asp. Retrieved October 6, 2001. [dead link]
  2. ^ Kim Rahn. "Washing dust off jumbo jet costs 3 million won". The Korea Times. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/04/119_789.html. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  3. ^ Du Xiaodan. "Northern dust brings dirty skies in Shanghai". CCTV English. http://www.cctv.com/english/20070403/103857.shtml. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ Wang Ying. "Operation blitzkrieg against desert storm". China Daily. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-04/03/content_842162.htm. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  5. ^ Herskovitz, J. "South Korea chokes on yellow dust, more storms seen". Reuters. http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/35964/story.htm. Retrieved April 10, 2006. 
  6. ^ Goudie, A.S. and Middleton, N.J. 1992. The changing frequency of dust storms through time. Climatic Change 20(3):197-225.
  7. ^ Liu Tungsheng, Gu Xiongfei, An Zhisheng and Fan Yongxiang. 1981. The dust fall in Beijing, China, on April 18. 1981. In: Péwé, T.L. (ed), Desert dust: origin, characteristics, and effect on man, Geological Society of America, Special Paper 186, pp. 149-157.
  8. ^ Chun Youngsin, Cho Hi-Ku, Chung Hyo-Sang and Lee Meehye. 2008. Historical records of Asian dust events (Hwangsa) in Korea. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 89(6):823-827. doi:10.1175/2008BAMS2159.1

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Asian Dust — Gelber Sand über Ostasien am 21. März 2001 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Asian dust — noun Dust, sand, and other particulate matter from Mongolia, northern China, and Kazakhstan blown over China, Korea, and Japan in the spring. In this case, Asian dust was transported by a downward moving low pressure and the altitude of Asian… …   Wiktionary

  • Dust storm — For the fictional character, see Dust Storm (Transformers). For other uses, see Sandstorm (disambiguation). Part of the Nature series on Weather   Calendar seasons …   Wikipedia

  • Dust (tea) — Dust tea is a low quality grade of fine grained black tea. Traditionally these were treated as the rejects of the manufacturing process in making high quality leaf tea like the Orange Pekoe. When leaves break or get crushed during the… …   Wikipedia

  • Asian theatre —    British Asian theatre embraces the work of writers, performers and companies, with the involvement of musicians and choreographers such as Shobana Jeyasingh. Leading performers such as Saeed Jaffrey, Jamila Massey and Roshan Seth work in film …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Mineral dust — Dust Plumes off Western Africa. Mineral dust is a term used to indicate atmospheric aerosols originated from the suspension of minerals constituting the soil, being composed of various oxides and carbonates. Human activities lead to 30% of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Gold Dust (elephant) — Gold Dust, (1873 ? Nov. 4, 1898) [ Elephant Gold Dust Dead Washington Post, November 6, 1898 ] , was a male Asian elephant. He resided at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. from April 30, 1891 until his death on November 4, 1898. Gold Dust was… …   Wikipedia

  • East Asian Monsoon — The East Asian monsoon is a monsoonal flow that carries moist air from the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean to East Asia. It affects approximately one third of the global population, influencing the climate of Japan (including Okinawa), the Koreas …   Wikipedia

  • East Asian monsoon — The East Asian monsoon is a monsoonal flow that carries moist air from the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean to East Asia. It affects approximately one third of the global population, and the countries China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and… …   Wikipedia

  • mathematics, South Asian — Introduction       the discipline of mathematics as it developed in the Indian (India) subcontinent.       The mathematics of classical Indian civilization is an intriguing blend of the familiar and the strange. For the modern individual, Indian… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.