Biological and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Peter Hess is a Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. 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 and two developing courses, Cross Scales Biogeochemical Modeling and Terrestrial Hydrology in a Changing Climate.