Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA)

Visibility Trends in Korea during the Past Two Decades

Temporal trends and spatial distributions of visibility measured by the human eye over 60 stations in Korea between 1980 and 2000 are analyzed and discussed. Generally, visibility is lowest on winter mornings and highest on summer afternoons throughout Korea. Visibility in Seoul is now in an increasing trend while it has decreased nationwide, especially in clean coastal areas. Spatial distribution of visibility in the 1990s was related negatively to that of relative humidity (RH). However, visibility generally decreased despite an overall decrease in RH throughout the country. Air pollutants should have played a role in this dissonant variation, particularly in relatively clean areas and on summer afternoons. It was interpreted that the visibility increase in major metropolitan areas, including the greater Seoul area, in the 1990s was caused mainly by the reduction in pollutant emissions by rigorous government policy. But the effect of the emission reduction was manifested with decreasing RH.

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