Peter Adams-Civil and Environmental Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Peter Adams

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering & Engineering and Public Policy

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Office: Doherty Hall 2112
Phone: 412-268-5624
Fax: 412-268-7813

Joint Appointment: EPP
Courtesy Appointment: ChemE 
Research Group: EESS
Research Center: CAPSCEDM


Ph.D. 2001, California Institute of Technology

Areas of Interest

Climatic effects of atmospheric particulate matter (aerosols), global and regional models of atmospheric chemistry, air quality in developing countries.

Aerosol Effects on Climate

Anthropogenic aerosols cool the earth's climate by reflecting sunlight back to space and by serving as nuclei for cloud droplet formation. Their net effect has been to partially offset global warming from greenhouse gases, but uncertainty in the magnitude of this effect has complicated the assessment and forecasting of climate change. Research in this area focuses on improving the representation of aerosols in global climate, chemistry, and transport models by incorporating size-resolved aerosol microphysics and thermodynamics and testing these improved aerosol models against observations from ground networks, intensive field campaigns, and satellites. Other work examines how aerosols influence cloud reflectivity in small-scale, detailed simulations of cloud formation.

Regional Air Quality Modeling

Regional air quality models are being developed that predict the concentrations of ozone and particulate matter resulting from a given set of emissions. Specific goals in this area of research are to improve the computational efficiency of air quality models such that multi-year time periods can be simulated, better constrain the emissions of ammonia through inverse modeling, and examine the costs and benefits of air pollution control policies in developing countries.

Selected Publications

  • Jathar, S. H., Farina, S. C., Robinson, A. L., and Adams, P. J. (2011) “The influence of semi-volatile and reactive primary emissions on the abundance and properties of global organic aerosol” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11(15): 7727-7746.
  • Chen, W. T., Lee, Y. H., Adams, P. J., Nenes, A., and Seinfeld, J. H. (2010) “Will black carbon mitigation dampen aerosol indirect forcing?,” Geophys. Res. Lett., 37(L09801): doi:10.1029/2010GL042886.
  • Pierce, J. R., and Adams, P. J. (2009) “Can cosmic rays affect cloud condensation nuclei by altering new particle formation rates?,” Geophys. Res. Lett., 36.
  • Pierce, J. R., and Adams, P. J. (2009) “Uncertainty in global CCN concentrations from uncertain aerosol nucleation and primary emission rates,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9(4): 1339-1356.
  • Racherla, P. N., and Adams, P. J. (2009) “US Ozone Air Quality under Changing Climate and Anthropogenic Emissions,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 43(3): 571-577.
  • Pinder, R. W., Adams, P. J., and Pandis, S. N. (2007) “Ammonia emission controls as a cost-effective strategy for reducing atmospheric particulate matter in the eastern United States,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 41(2): 380-386.