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About Dr. James Sherman

The southeastern United States was one of a handful of locations worldwide that did not experience warming trends during the 20th century. Why? It could have something to do with small aerosols (or particles) created by interactions of pollutants from power plants and other combustion sources with  tree emissions from the dense forests in this area. These particles, which give rise to the “blue haze” in the southern Appalachian mountain region, reflect sunlight back into space and can cool the earth’s surface.

Appalachian State University’s Dr. James Sherman is currently researching how these aerosols are making an impact on climate change and regional air quality, and the southern Appalachian mountains are considered one of the best areas for this work. He conducts much of his work at Appalachian’s AppalAIR research station on campus, one of only two co-located  NOAA and NASA aerosol monitoring network sites in the U.S.

Areas of Expertise
Measurements of air quality
Climate change
Laser and optical instrumentation for environmental and defense applications


Present Faculty Member, Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences
Present Professor, Appalachian State University Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Honors and Awards

  • Wachovia Environmental Research Award, Appalachian State University, 2017
  • Transforming North Carolina Research Co-recipient, Appalachian State University, 2011
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research Fellowships, 2006-07


  • PHY 1150 Analytical Physics I
  • PHY 5740 Sensors and Transducers
  • PHY 1104 General Physics II


2002 Ph.D., Colorado State University ‐ Atmospheric Physics
1997 M.S., Institute of Optics- University of Rochester ‐ Optical Engineering
1994 B.S., Iowa State University ‐ Physics

Contact Information

In the News (2)

Research Works (14)