Abstract One of the key features of the optical environment over the eastern U.S. is the frequent occurrence of regional haziness, particularly during the summer season. Four historical data bases were examined for estimation of the regional trend in haziness over the past 80 years: the surface visibility observations currently operated by the National Weather Service; historical visibility at Blue Hill MA; the NOAA-WMO turbidity network measuring the extinction of solar radiation with a sun photometer since the 1960's; and a set of direct solar radiation monitoring stations operated since 1910. In the 1970's the lowest visibility occurred in the region of the Ohio River. The strongest increase of haziness was noted in the states adjacent to the Smoky Mountains: the average visibility there has decreased from 24 to 10 km since 1948. That region also exhibits the highest turbidity (vertical optical depth of the aerosol). The spatial trends of coal consumption indicate a consistency with the spatial trends in haziness.