The observation of dust events in Korea must have been important through its long history because of its geographical and meteorological setting. Descriptions about dust events were well documented in historical archives, such as Samguk sagi (57 BC–AD 938), Goryeo sa (918–1392), Joseon wangjosillok (1392–1853), and Munhuenbigo (~1776). In this study, records of Asian dust events were compiled from the above historical archives, covering the period of the second to the eighteenth century. These historical records were investigated along with the recent data (1915–2005) of dust event days in Seoul, Korea. The first record was made in AD 174 in Silla during the period of the Three Kingdoms. A dust event, now called hwangsa, was commonly written down as Woo-Tou or Tou-Woo standing for “dustfall” in the historical archives. Asian dust events took place most frequently during spring from March to May and there was almost no occurrence in summer. The main seasonal feature of the historical dust events was found to be in good agreement with that of the last 90 yr. The result suggests that the past seasonal mechanism of the dust event occurrence and transport in northeast Asia is not significantly different from the present.

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National Institute of Meteorological Research, Korea Meteorological Administration, Sindaebang-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, Korea

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea

Payload Department, COMS Program Office, Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Yuseong-Gu, Daejeon, Korea

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Korea University, Anam-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul, Korea

*CURRENT AFFILIATION: NOAA/ESRL/GMD Visiting Scientist, Boulder, Colorado