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Michael Howard Bergin

Michael Howard Bergin

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

My general research focus is on the influence of air pollution on both climate and human health. My specific interest is particulate matter (PM), and I have done a wide range of studies on the emission, formation, deposition and impacts of PM. I am particularly interested in how PM impacts climate by modifying the radiation balance of the atmosphere and I have done studies in both pristine regions of the world (Greenland and the Himalaya), as well as hazy regions (the Southeastern US, China, and India). More recently I have been studying the influence of PM on human health with emphasis on determining the relative contributions of sources (such as biomass burning and vehicular emissions) to acute health impacts. I am also involved in developing and deploying the next generation of air quality sensors to inform citizens on the quality of the air they are breathing so that they can make informed decisions to improve their air. My vision involves combining a multidisciplinary, multicultural approach to research and education that brings together researchers from around the world to collectively work together to make the air cleaner.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke Kunshan University
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative
  • Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 127B Hudson Hall, Box 90287, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5209
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University, 1995

Research Interests

Aerosols are generated by a variety of natural and anthropogenic sources. I am interested in the processes that emit, transform and deposit particulate matter. A current focus of my research is how particles in the atmosphere directly modify the surface radiation balance of the Earth. This is of importance to the climate of the Earth, as well as plant growth and visibility. We have conducted studies at a variety of polluted urban sites as well as pristine remote sites to understand the contrast between clean and dirty locations. Another interest is the past impacts of aerosols on climate through interpretation of paleorecords archived in ice cores. My work involves a combination of lab and field studies as well as the development of relatively simple mathematical models.

Courses Taught

  • CEE 292: Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 492: Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 493: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 494: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 690: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • COMPSCI 393: Research Independent Study
  • ECE 391: Projects in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 392: Projects in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Zheng, T; Bergin, MH; Johnson, KK; Tripathi, SN; Shirodkar, S; Landis, MS; Sutaria, R; Carlson, DE, Field evaluation of low-cost particulate matter sensors in high-and low-concentration environments, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, vol 11 no. 8 (2018), pp. 4823-4846 [10.5194/amt-11-4823-2018] [abs].
  • Schmeisser, L; Backman, J; Ogren, JA; Andrews, E; Asmi, E; Starkweather, S; Uttal, T; Fiebig, M; Sharma, S; Eleftheriadis, K; Vratolis, S; Bergin, M; Tunved, P; Jefferson, A, Seasonality of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol 18 no. 16 (2018), pp. 11599-11622 [10.5194/acp-18-11599-2018] [abs].
  • Ward, JL; Flanner, MG; Bergin, M; Dibb, JE; Polashenski, CM; Soja, AJ; Thomas, JL, Modeled Response of Greenland Snowmelt to the Presence of Biomass Burning-Based Absorbing Aerosols in the Atmosphere and Snow, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol 123 no. 11 (2018), pp. 6122-6141 [10.1029/2017JD027878] [abs].
  • Zhan, Y; Johnson, K; Norris, C; Shafer, MM; Bergin, MH; Zhang, Y; Zhang, J; Schauer, JJ, The influence of air cleaners on indoor particulate matter components and oxidative potential in residential households in Beijing., The Science of the Total Environment, vol 626 (2018), pp. 507-518 [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.024] [abs].
  • Johnson, KK; Bergin, MH; Russell, AG; Hagler, GSW, Field test of several low-cost particulate matter sensors in high and low concentration urban environments, vol 18 no. 3 (2018), pp. 565-578 [10.4209/aaqr.2017.10.0418] [abs].