photo of John D. Albertson

John D. Albertson

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Hollister Hall, Room 113


John Albertson is a Professor of CEE at Cornell University. Albertson joined the Cornell faculty in July of 2015, arriving from Duke University where he was department chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He did his undergraduate work at SUNY Buffalo and received his BS in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in structures in 1985. He then practiced as a professional structural engineer for six years in the electric power industry. During that time he earned an MBA (Finance) at the University of Hartford and also earned his Professional Engineers license (CT). In 1991 he left industry to return to academia, earning a Masters in Hydrology from Yale University in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Science at the University of California, Davis in 1996.  In 1996 he joined the faculty of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. In 2002 he moved to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University, where he worked until summer of 2015. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Cork (Ireland), the University of Cagliari (Italy), the University of Padova (Italy), and EURAC (Italy).

Research Interests

Albertson's work is generally directed toward the development of a comprehensive understanding of the exchange rates of mass (e.g. water, CO2, pollutants), energy, and momentum between the land and atmosphere. Primary applications of his work are in hydrometeorology and air quality. He is particularly focused on the fusion of measurements and models for optimal prediction. More details can be found on his lab website linked below.

Teaching Interests

Albertson teaches an upper level course in Hydrology, a graduate course in Transport, Mixing, and Reaction in the Environment, and is currently developing a new course on Engineering Smart Cities.

Selected Publications

  • Peng, X., Steinschneider, S. and Albertson, J., 2020. Investigating Long-Range Seasonal Predictability of East African Short Rains: Influence of the Mascarene High on the Indian Ocean Walker Cell. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology59(6), pp.1077-1090.
  • Zhou, X., A. Montazari, J. D. Albertson, 2019, Mobile sensing of point-source gas emissions using Bayesian inference: An empirical examination of the likelihood function, Atmospheric Environment, 218: #116981.
  • Zhou, X., Fletcher P., Rudek, J., von Fischer, J., Hamburg S. P., and Albertson J. D. 2019. Estimation of methane emissions from the U.S. ammonia fertilizer industry using a mobile sensing approach. Elem Sci Anth, 7: 19. DOI:
  • Yin, J., Albertson, J. D., & Porporato, A. 2017. A probabilistic description of entrainment instability for cloud‐topped boundary‐layer models. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 143(703), 650-660.
  • Albertson, J.D., T.A. Harvey, G. Foderaro, P. Zhu, X. Zhou, S. Ferrari, M. S. Amin, M. Modrak, H.L. Brantley, and E. Thoma. "A Mobile Sensing Approach for Regional Surveillance of Fugitive Methane Emissions in Oil and Gas Production." Environmental science & technology, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b05059, 2016.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Croll Fellow Professor (Cornell University), 2015
  • Natural Resource Institute Outside Collaborator of the Year Award (USDA-ARS), 2000
  • New Investigator Program (NIP) in the Earth Sciences Award (NASA), 1999
  • Hydrology Section, Outstanding Student Paper Award (AGU), 1996
  • Northeast Utilities Chairman's Award for Outstanding Performance, 1989


  • BS (Civil Engineering), SUNY Buffalo, 1985
  • MBA (Finance), University of Hartford, 1989
  • MES (Hydrology), Yale University, 1993
  • PhD (Hydrology), University of California, Davis, 1996