Dr. Daniel M. Westervelt


Climate change and air pollution scientist


I am currently an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY. In addition, I am a Columbia University Climate and Life Fellow leading a project on air pollution and climate change in Africa. I am also an affiliated scientist with the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, NY, and an air pollution advisor to the US State Department.

Prior to Lamont, I worked as a Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University.

I completed my PhD degree in May 2013 in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, under the supervision of Dr. Peter Adams.

Outside of work, I enjoy sports, science, reading, and New York City living.

6/8/2020: Ore Solanke and Sarah Hancock (DEES undergraduates) joins the team for the summer!

5/28/2020: Proposal to Columbia University Provost Office is selected for funding to work on air pollution in Nairobi, Kenya.

5/15/2020: Presentation to Children’s Investment Foundation Fund (CIFF) on behalf of Columbia University and Clean Air Toolbox (with V. Faye McNeill, Darby Jack, Alex Halliday, and Megan Fay).

5/5/2020 - 5/7/2020: MAIA Science Team meeting. Dr. Westervelt presents on air quality in Nairobi on Thursday

4/23/2020: Dr. Westervelt is interviewed by NYC journalist Donna Hannover discussing air pollution during COVID-19!

4/20/2020 - 4/24/2020: Dr. Westervelt’s pre-proposal to USAID is accepted for participation in the (virtual) co-creation workshop.

4/14/2020: Dr. Westervelt is interviewed by CBS2 Reporter and Meteorologist Vanessa Murdock. Interview airs on local 6pm news: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/04/17/coronavirus-pandemic-could-have-lasting-impact-on-the-air-we-breathe/

4/9/2020: Dr. Westervelt is quoted in this Nature News article on air pollution during COVID-19! https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01049-6

4/8/2020: ChemE graduate student William Tsui successfully depends his PhD!

3/15/2020: ChemE undergraduate Celeste McFarlane joins the team!

2/16/20 - 3/4/20: Dr. Westervelt is visiting Accra, Ghana and Lomé, Togo for field work and capacity building. He is doing training sessions for the Ghana EPA on air quality forecasting, and data analysis of data collected in the Jamestown Neighborhood of Accra, to test the impacts of a clean air intervention on a neighborhood stricken by bad air quality. He will also visit his colleague Dr. Sabi Koukou at the Université de Lomé in Togo, where they will deploy additional PM2.5 sensors. Dr. Westervelt’s work was featured heavily in the Ghanaian media, for example: https://www.ghanaiantimes.com.gh/accra-air-pollution-high-above-acceptable-world-standard-us-expert/

2/14/20: Dr. Westervelt participated in the Sloan foundation funded Indoor Air Quality in Museums at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, and presented a talk on “Low cost sensors for air pollution: review, evaluation, and applications to indoor air quality

2/11/20: Dr Westervelt is giving a talk to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, titled: The radiative forcing, temperature, and precipitation response to drawdown of regional aerosol emissions”

1/24/20: Dr Westervelt is visiting Ohio State University, including the Byrd Polar and Climate research lab, and the department of environmental engineering. He gave a talk titled: “The radiative forcing, temperature, and precipitation response to drawdown of regional aerosol emissions”

12/17/2019: ChemE PhD Student Alison Fankhauser successfully defends her PhD!

12/19/2019: Dr. Westervelt received funding from two new sources: The Columbia Data Science Institute (DSI) and Industrial Economics, Inc. His project with Prof. Arlene Fiore titled “Detecting and attributing spatiotemporal variations in sources of ground-level air pollution with a modeling testbed for integrating multiple noisy satellite datasets” will begin in the new year. For IEc, Dr. Westervelt will be leading some data analysis in the James Town neighborhood of Accra, Ghana, and will be visiting Accra in February 2020.

12/9/2019: Dr. Westervelt is in San Francisco for the 100th meeting of the American Geophysical Union! He is convening a session and giving two presentations.

Chang and Dr. Westervelt visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Air Monitoring site in Queens, NY, to complete more collocations of low cost sensors.

New air pollution monitoring deployments in Togo, Kinshasa, and Nairobi come online.

Dr. Westervelt’s work on air pollution in Kinshasa is presented at the American Association of Aerosol Research annual meeting by colleague R Subramanian. Dr. Westervelt’s rPhD research is featured in the plenary talk given by Prof. Neil Donahue!

Environmental Enngineering Masters student Chang Wang joins the group to work on air pollution data analysis for air quality data in Africa.

Dr. Westervelt gives a public talk with Professor Arlene Fiore at the 2019 LDEO Open House.

9/25/2019: Dr. Westervelt travels to Washington, DC to talk about air pollution monitoring at the World Bank Headquarters and the State Department.

8/26/2019: Dr. Westervelt is traveling to Nairobi, Kenya, and Kampala, Uganda to start a low cost sensor measurement campaign! He is also hosting an air quality roundtable at the Columbia Global Center in Nairobi, which will be attended by ~20 Kenyan and Ugandan environmental scientists. He will meet with scientists at University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University, and Makerere University (Kampala). See recap here.

8/12/2019: Dr. Westervelt is quoted in this piece by Chemistry and Environmental News

8/6/2019: Dr. Westervelt attended the ASAP-East Africa air pollution meeting at the Population Council in Midtown, Manhattan. The meeting was organized by the Pop Council and Prof. Francis Pope of University of Birmingham (UK).

7/31/2019: Dr. Westervelt’s latest paper on air quality and climate change in China was published in Environmental Research Letters. Media press release here: