Peter Adams-Engineering and Public Policy - Carnegie Mellon University

Peter Adams

Professor, Engineering and Public Policy, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Director, Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: Doherty Hall 2112
Phone: (412) 268-5624
Research Interests: Climatic effects of atmospheric particulate matter (aerosols), global and regional models of atmospheric chemistry, and air quality in developing countries.


  • Carnegie Mellon 2001-


  • Ph.D. 2001, California Institute of Technology
  • M.S. 1998, California Institute of Technology
  • B.S. 1996, Cornell University


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.


  1. Dawson, J.P., P.J. Adams, and S.N. Pandis, "Sensitivity of PM2.5 to climate in the Eastern US: a modeling case study", Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 7, 4295-4309, 2007.
  2. Gilmore, E. A., L. B. Lave, and P. J. Adams, "The costs, air quality and human health effects of meeting peak electricity demand with installed backup generators", Environ. Sci. Tech., 40, 6887-6893, 2006.
  3. Jung, J.G., P.J. Adams, and S.N. Pandis, "Simulating the size distribution and chemical composition of ultrafine particles during nucleation events", Atmos. Environ., 40 (13), 2248-2259, 2006.
  4. Pierce, J.R., and P.J. Adams, "Global evaluation of CCN formation by direct emission of sea salt and growth of ultrafine sea salt", J. Geophys. Res., 111, 10.1029/2005JD006186, 2006.
  5. Pinder, R. W., P. J. Adams, and S. N. Pandis, "Ammonia emission controls as a cost-effective strategy for reducing atmospheric particulate matter in the Eastern US, Environ. Sci. Tech.", 41, 380-386, 2006.
  6. Racherla, P. N., and P. J. Adams, "Sensitivity of global ozone and fine particulate matter concentrations to climate change", J. Geophys. Res., 111, doi:10.1029/2005JD006939, 2006.