James Schwab

James Schwab

Senior Research Faculty, Emeritus
Atmospheric Sciences Research Center
CV114.88 KB


ETEC 339

PhD, Harvard University, 1983, Chemical Physics. Field: Atmospheric Chemistry. Thesis title: Spectroscopy and Reaction Kinetics of Halogen-, Hydrogen-, and Oxygen-Containing Free Radicals

BS, University of Minnesota, 1977, Physics

James Schwab

The study of atmospheric chemistry is critical to our understanding of the health effects of air pollution, to the sustainability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and to the global climate system. Trace amounts of man-made pollutants can have disproportionately large consequences to the atmosphere and the biological systems (including humans) that depend on the atmosphere. Our group is actively engaged in research aimed at increasing our understanding the chemistry of the atmosphere, and using that increased understanding to improve the health of the atmosphere and all of earth’s inhabitants. 

Research Interests

The major theme of my research involves the study of chemical and physical processes impacting the fate of anthropogenic and biogenic emissions and their effects on air quality, the climate system, and global cycles of atmospheric species. The atmospheric chemistry group specializes in measurements of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols; especially those involved in tropospheric ozone production and airborne particulate matter. We are also involved in measuring Greenhouse Gases to help identify major sources and their emission rates. Another major area of research is aimed at developing instrumentation for the measurement of chemical composition of the atmosphere, primarily the more reactive species.

  1. Field Measurements of Trace Gas and Aerosol Pollutants
    Our group has long term measurement sites at Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks, and Pinnacle State Park in the New York's Southern Tier. At these sites we make continuous year-round measurements of more than 20 chemical and physical parameters. We work closely with New York State DEC at their New York City sites and have conducted numerous special studies in Queens, NYC in the past two decades.
  2. Urban, Near Roadway, and On Road Measurements of Pollutants
    We have outfitted a 2007 Dodge Sprinter van with sampling systems and instrumentation for high time resolution measurement of gas phase and aerosol pollutants. Measurement systems deployed to date in the mobile laboratory include the Aerodyne Research High Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer and Quantum Cascade Laser Absorption Spectrometer, as well as a Photoacoustic Soot Spectrometer, and Fast Mobility Particle Sizer, a Water-Based Condensation Particle Counter, and analyzers for measuring gaseous CO2, O3, NO, and NO2.
  3. Greenhouse Gas and Co-Pollutant Emissions
    As New York State embarks on efforts to understand and control sources of Greenhouse gases as mandates by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), we have been supported to use our mobile lab to identify and quantify large emitters of methane gas.
  4. Instrument and Method Development and Evaluation for Continuous Measurement Systems
    Our group has been involved in the development and evaluation of continuous measurement systems that can be operated 24/7/365 to provide data over seasons and years.
  5. Measurement and Analysis of New Particle Formation
    Quantitative measurements of particles below 10 nm, and even 5 nm, is a large experimental challenge. We aim to make these difficult measurements, and combine these measurements with companion measurements, theory, and analysis to understand the nucleation and growth of new particles in the atmosphere.

  6. Evaluation and Analysis of Measurement Data, including Long Term Trends of Trace Species, and Detailed Analysis of Intensive Field Projects


Additional Information

Teaches graduate level Atmospheric Chemistry in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

Currently (2019) the group consists of four PhD candidate graduate students, one undergraduate student, three full time employees, and a part time lab manager.



Selected Publications (total of over 100 in peer-reviewed journals)

Ninneman, M., K.L. Demerjian, and J.J. Schwab, “Ozone Production Efficiencies at Rural New York State Locations: Relationship to Oxides of Nitrogen Concentrations”, J. Geophys. Res.: Atmospheres, 124, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JD029932.

Schwab, J.J., D. Wolfe, P.W. Casson, R.E. Brandt, K.L. Demerjian, L. Husain, V.A. Dutkiewicz, K.L. Civerolo, O.V. Rattigan (2016), “Atmospheric Science Research at Whiteface Mountain, NY: Site Description and History”. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, special issue on Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and Chemistry at Mountain Sites. 16, 827-840, doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0343

Brandt, R.E., J.J. Schwab, P.W. Casson, U.K. Roychowdhury,  D. Wolfe, K.L. Demerjian, K.L. Civerolo, O.V. Rattigan, H.D. Felton (2016), “Atmospheric Chemistry Measurements at Whiteface Mountain, NY: Ozone and Reactive Trace Gases”. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, special issue on Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and Chemistry at Mountain Sites. 16, 873-884, doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0376

Schwab, J.J., P.W. Casson, R.E. Brandt, L. Husain, V.A. Dutkiewicz, D. Wolfe, K.L. Demerjian,  K.L. Civerolo, O.V. Rattigan, H.D. Felton, J.E. Dukett (2016), “Atmospheric Chemistry Measurements at Whiteface Mountain, NY: Cloud Water Chemistry, Precipitation Chemistry, and Particulate Matter”. Aerosol and Air Quality Research, special issue on Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and Chemistry at Mountain Sites. 16, 841-854,                                       doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.344

Cooper, O. R., D. D. Parrish, J. Ziemke, N. V. Balashov, M. Cupeiro, I. E. Galbally, S. Gilge, L. Horowitz, N. R. Jensen, J.-F. Lamarque, V. Naik, S. J. Oltmans, J. Schwab, D. T. Shindell, A. M. Thompson, V. Thouret, Y. Wang, R. M. Zbinden (2014), “Global distribution and trends of tropospheric ozone: An observation-based review”, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 2:000029, doi:10.12952/journal.elementa.000029.

P. Massoli, E.C. Fortner, M.R. Canagaratna, L. R. Williams, Q. Zhang, Y. Sun, J. J. Schwab, A. Trimborn, T. B. Onasch, K.L. Demerjian, C. E. Kolb, D. R. Worsnop, and J. T. Jayne (2012), “Pollution Gradients and Chemical Characterization of Particulate Matter from Vehicular Traffic near Major Roadways: Results from the 2009 Queens College Air Quality Study in NYC”  Aerosol Science and Technology, 46, 2101-1218, doi:10.1080/02786826.2012.701784.

Y.L. Sun, Q. Zhang, J.J. Schwab, K.L. Demerjian, W.-N. Chen, M.-S. Bae, H.-M. Hung, O. Hogrefe, B. Frank, O.V. Rattigan, Y.-C. Lin, (2011). “Characterization of the sources and processes of organic and inorganic aerosols in New York City with a high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer” Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 1581-1602, doi:10.5194/acp-11-1581-2011.

M.-S. Bae, J.J. Schwab, W.-N. Chen, C.-Y. Lin, O.V. Rattigan, K.L. Demerjian, (2011). “Identifying pollutant source directions using multiple analysis methods at a rural location in New York” Atmos. Environ., 45, 2531-2540, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.020.

O.V. Rattigan, H.D. Felton, M.-S. Bae, J.J. Schwab, K.L. Demerjian, (2011). “Comparison of long-term PM2.5 carbon measurements at an urban and rural location in New York”, Atmos. Environ., 45, 3228-3236, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.03.048.

M.-S. Bae, J.J Schwab, O. Hogrefe, B.P. Frank, G.G Lala, and K.L. Demerjian, (2010), “Characteristics of size distributions at urban and rural locations in New York” Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. 10, 69-108, www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/69/2010

J.J. Schwab, J.B. Spicer, and K.L. Demerjian, (2009), “Ozone, Trace Gas, and Particulate Matter Measurements at a Rural Site in Southwestern New York State: 1995-2005” J. Air & Waste Manage. Assoc., 59, 293-309, doi:10.3155/1047-3289.59.3.293.

C. Cai, C. Hogrefe, P. Katsafados, G. Kallos, M. Beauharnois, J. J. Schwab, X. Ren, W.H. Brune, X. Zhou, Y. He, and K.L. Demerjian, (2008), “Performance evaluation of an air quality forecast modeling system for a summer and winter season - Photochemical oxidants and their precursors”, Atmos. Environ., 42, 8585-8599, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.08.029.

Y.Q. Li, J.J. Schwab, and K.L. Demerjian (2008), “Fast time response measurements of gaseous nitrous acid using a tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer: HONO emission source from vehicle exhausts”, Geophys. Res. Lett, 35, L04803, doi:10.1029/2007GL031218.

J.J. Schwab, Y. Li, M-S. Bae, K.L. Demerjian, J. Hou, X. Zhou, B. Jensen, and S. Pryor (2007), “A Laboratory Intercomparison of Real-Time Gaseous Ammonia Measurement Methods”, Environ. Sci. Technol., 41, 8412-8419, doi:10.1021/es070354r.

M-S. Bae, K.L. Demerjian, J. J. Schwab, S. Weimer, J. Hou, X. Zhou, K. Rhoads, and D. Orsini (2007), “Intercomparison of Real Time Ammonium Measurements at Urban and Rural Locations in New York”, Aerosol Sci. Technol., 41, 329-341, doi:10.1080/02786820701199710.

Y. Li, J.J. Schwab, K.L. Demerjian (2006), “Measurements of Ambient Ammonia Using a Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometer: Characteristics of Ambient Ammonia Emissions in an Urban Area of New York City”, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D10S02, doi:10.1029/2005JD006275