Haze Turns to Acid Snow

Korea was blanketed by acid snow on Monday, with pH dropping to 4.2 on average in Seoul in the morning. Toxic smog compounded the problem as the concentration of fine particles soared to 112㎍/㎥, way above the safe standard of 100㎍/㎥.

The Seoul Research Institute of Public Health and Environment measured the acidity of snow at eight observation spots in the capital between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. In the afternoon, the acidity level slightly improved to 4.3-4.4 as snow washed pollutants from the city.

Guro-dong and Yangjae-dong had the most acidic snow at pH 3.8 between 7a.m. and 8 a.m., somewhere between orange juice (pH 4.0) and wine (pH 3.5).

Western coastal areas saw the concentration of fine particles reach over 200㎍/㎥, said Kweather, a meteorological information provider. Some areas must have had snow even more acidic than in Seoul, it added.

Pedestrians walk through snow in Gwanghwamun on Monday. Pedestrians walk through snow in Gwanghwamun on Monday.

Experts warn that acid snow can be harmful to health, aggravating atopic dermatitis or skin problems on the scalp.

Sporadic snow was forecast in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province and Gangwon and North Chungcheong provinces in the morning on Tuesday.

The Korea Meteorological Administration forecast snowfall of 1-5 cm in eastern Gangwon Province, eastern coastal area of North Gyeongsang Province, and the western coast of South and North Jeolla provinces; and snowfall of 1-3 cm in inner South Chungcheong and Jeolla provinces and Jeju.

A fresh cold snap hit the country as the morning low stood at -2 to -10 degrees Celsius, with -7 degrees in Seoul.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 21, 2014 10:51 KST