Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Peter Hess is a Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering and is currently the Director of Graduate Studies. His research interests focus on understanding atmospheric chemistry within the context of the earth’s climate system. His work will advance understanding of how the chemistry and composition of the atmosphere may change over the 21st Century and help to prepare adaptive responses or mitigation strategies. These changes in atmospheric chemistry not only drive climate change but also directly threaten human health, agricultural productivity, and natural ecosystems.
Anthropogenic emissions, agriculture activities, and land use changes all affect atmospheric composition and climate. Through integration of atmospheric chemical models and atmospheric measurements, Professor Hess seeks to understand atmospheric chemistry over the historical record and into the future. Projections of future climate change are coupled with changes in atmospheric composition, which, by extension impacts future air quality. Understanding the impacts of climate change not only requires constant environmental monitoring, but also a predictive ability gained through working with complex numerical models of the earth’s system.
Professor Hess teaches students the complex and exciting science involved in understanding the interactions between the earth, its atmosphere, and human activities. He communicates how climate models are used to make future predictions, how the models are formulated and validated, what aspects of the models can be relied upon to make robust predictions, and which aspects should be viewed with a healthy skepticism.
His courses include BEE 4800 Our Changing Atmosphere: Global Change and Atmospheric Chemistry, BEE 2000 Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge and BEE 2010 Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge Discussion.
- Cheng, S. J., Hess, P. G., Wieder, W. R., Thomas, R. Q., Nadelhoffer, K. J., Vira, J., Lombardozzi, D. L., Gundersen, P., Fernandez, I. J., Schleppi, P., Gruselle, M., Moldan, F., & Goodale, C. L. (2019). Decadal fates and impacts of nitrogen additions on temperate forest carbon storage: a data-model comparison. Biogeosciences. 16:2771-2793.
- Vira , J., Hess, P. G., Melkonian , J., & Wieder , W. An improved mechanistic model for ammonia volatilization in Earth system models: Flow of Agricultural Nitrogen, version 2 (FANv2).
- Sun , W., Hess, P. G., Chen , G., & Tilmes, S. (2019). How waviness in the circulation changes surface ozone: a viewpoint using local finite-amplitude wave activity. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
- Phalitnonkiat, P., Hess, P. G., Grigoriu, M. D., Samorodnitsky, G., Sun, W., Beaudry, E., Tilmes, S., Deushi, M., Josse, B., Plummer, D., & Sudo, K. (2018). Extremal dependence between temperature and ozone over the continental US. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18:11927-11948.
- Mahowald, N. M., Ward, D. S., Doney, S. C., Hess, P. G., & Randerson, J. T. (2017). Are the impacts of land use on warming underestimated in climate policy? Environmental Research Letters. 12.
- Mahowald, N. M., Scanza, R., Brahney, J., Goodale, C. L., Hess, P. G., Moore, J., & Neff, J. (2017). Aerosol Deposition Impacts on Land and Ocean Carbon Cycles. Current Climate Change Reports. 3:16-31.
- Sun, W., Hess, P. G., & Liu, C. (2017). The impact ofmeteorological persistence on the distribution and extremes of ozone. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:1545-1553.
- Riddick, S., Ward, D., Hess, P. G., Mahowald, N., Massad, R., & Holland, E. (2016). Estimate of changes in agricultural terrestrial nitrogen pathways and ammonia emissions from 1850 to present in the Community Earth System Model. Biogeosciences. 13:3397-3426.
- Nevison, C., Hess, P. G., Riddick, S., & Ward, D. (2016). Denitrification, leaching, and river nitrogen export in the Community Earth System Model. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 8:272-291.
- Phalitnonkiat, P., Sun, W. X., Grigoriu, M. D., Hess, P. G., & Samorodnitsky, G. (2016). Extreme ozone events: Tail behavior of the surface ozone distribution over the US. Atmospheric Environment. 128:134-146.