Charles T. Driscoll

University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor, National Academy of Engineering Member

Civil and Environmental Engineering

335A Link Hall



  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 1980.
  • M.S., Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 1976.
  • B.S. (with distinction), Civil Engineering, University of Maine 1974.

Lab/Center Affiliation:

  • Center for Environmental Systems Engineering

Research Interests:

  • Aquatic chemistry
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Climate change science and engineering
  • Environmental quality modeling
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Ecosystem science
  • Limnology
  • Soil chemistry

Current Research:

My scholarly work addresses the effects of disturbance on forest, urban, freshwater and marine ecosystems, including air pollution (acid and mercury deposition), land-use, and climate change. Current research focuses on: recovery of eastern forest watersheds from acidic deposition; health and environmental justice co-benefits of decarbonization of the electricity sector; ecosystem restoration; ecosystem response to changing climate; mitigation of harmful algal blooms; and atmospheric deposition, watershed and surface water transport and transformations, and biotic exposure of mercury. The Driscoll laboratory has published more than 500 articles in peer-reviewed journals.  According to Google Scholar, these works have been cited over 47,000 times, with an H-index of 112. I have been designated as a highly cited researcher by Clairvate Analytics. I am a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

To advance the “broader impacts” of research, I try to serve society through participation in various national and iTo advance the “broader impacts” of research, I try to serve society through participation in various national and international committees and panels; advising federal and state agencies; working with natural resource managers and policy makers; briefing Congress and state officials; and informing the media and the public on the results of research and environmental policy issues. I am particularly interested in multidisciplinary activities, and synthesis and translation of scientific and engineering research. These activities inform my research. Finally, I am interested in improving and advancing science communication. I want science and engineering information to be accessible to the public and policy-makers to help guide cost-effective decisions on natural resource management.

Courses Taught:

  • Aquatic Chemistry
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Field methods in Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Fundamentals of Engineering Review

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level classes in environmental engineering, sustainable civil and environmental systems, aquatic chemistry and biogeochemistry.  Graduate students, undergraduate students and even some high school students who work in my laboratory. These students have a keen interest in research. They are encouraged to interpret their results in the context of environmental problems and issues, to interact with the research community beyond Syracuse University, present the findings of their research at professional meetings and publish in peer-reviewed journals.


  • Syracuse University Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, 2020.
  • Lead author, United Nations Environmental Programme, Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report on Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment, 2016-2018.
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 2018.
  • New Horizons, Lecture Clarkson University 2016
  • Batsheva de Rothschild Fellowship, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Lectureship at Israel University, 2015
  • Adirondack Research Consortium, Adirondack Achievement Award, 2012
  • National Research Council, Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology, 2011-2017
  • S. National Committee for Soil Science, The National Academies, 2008-2010

Selected Publications:

Zhou, J., Z. Wang, X. Zhang and C. T.  Driscoll. 2021. Measurement of the vertical distribution of gaseous elemental mercury concentrations in soil pore air at subtropical and temperate forests. Environmental Science & Technology, 55(3):2132–2142. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c05204

McDonnell, T. C., C. T. Driscoll, T. J. Sullivan, D. A. Burns, B. P. Baldigo, S.  Shao. 2021. Regional Target Loads of Atmospheric Nitrogen and Sulfur Deposition for the Protection of Stream and Watershed Soil Resources of the Adirondack Mountains, USA. Environmental Pollution, 281:117110. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117110.

Zhou, J., Z. Wang, X. Zhang, C. T. Driscoll and C-J. Lin. 2020. Soil-atmosphere exchange flux of total gaseous mercury (TGM) in subtropical and temperate forest catchments. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20:16117–16133. doi:10.5194/acp-2020-816.

von Schneidemesser, E., C. T.  Driscoll, H.  E. Rieder and L. D. Schifer. 2020. How will air quality effects on human health, crops, and ecosystems change in the future? Philosophical Transactions A, 378: 20190330. doi:10.1098/rsta/378/2183.

Wasswa, J., C. T. Driscoll and T. Zeng. 2020. Photochemical characterization of surface waters from lakes in the Adirondack Region of New York. Environmental Science & Technology, 54(17):10654-10667. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c02811.

Evers, D. C., A. K. Sauer, D. A Burns, N. S. Fisher, D. Bertok, E. M. Adams, M. E. Burton and C. T Driscoll. 2020. A synthesis of patterns of environmental mercury inputs, exposure and effects in New York State. Ecotoxicology, 29(10):1565-1589. doi:10.1007/s10646-020-02291-4

Olson, C. I., H. Fakhraei and C. T. Driscoll. 2020. Mercury emissions, atmospheric concentrations, and wet deposition across the conterminous United States: Changes over 20 years of monitoring. Environmental Science & Technology Letters. 7(6):376-381 doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.0c00185.

Hinckley, E. S., J. T. Crawford, H. Fakhraei, C. T. Driscoll. 2020. A shift in sulfur-cycle manipulation from atmospheric emissions to agricultural additions. Nature Geoscience. doi: 10.1038/s41561-020-0620-3.

Shao, S., C. T. Driscoll, T. Sullivan, D. A. Burns, B. Baldigo, G. Lawrence and T. McDonnell. 2020. The response of stream ecosystems in the Adirondack region of New York to historical and future changes in atmospheric deposition of sulfur and nitrogen. Science of Total Environment. 716:137113 doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137113

Driscoll, C. T., K. F. Lambert, D. Burtraw, J. J. Buonocore, S. B. Reid, and H. Fakhraei. 2015 online. US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits. Nature Climate Change 5:535-540.

Blackwell, B. D., and C. T. Driscoll. 2015. Deposition of mercury in forests along a montane elevation gradient. Environmental Science & Technology 49:5363-5370.

Fakhraei, H., and C. T. Driscoll. 2015. Proton and aluminum binding properties of organic acids in surface waters of the Northeastern, USA. Environmental Science & Technology 49:2939-2947.

Todorova, S., C. T. Driscoll, D. A. Matthews, and S. W. Effler. 2015. Zooplankton community changes confound the biodilution theory of methylmercury accumulation in a recovering mercury-contaminated lake. Environmental Science & Technology 49:4066-4071.

Fakhraei, H., C. T. Driscoll, P. Selvendiran, J. V. DePinto, J. Bloomfield, S. Quinn, and C. Rowell. 2014. Development of a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for acid-impaired lakes in the Adirondack region of New York. Atmospheric Environment 95:277-287.

Battles, J. J., T. J. Fahey, C. T. Driscoll, J. D. Blum, and C. E. Johnson. 2014. Restoring soil calcium reverses forest decline. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 1:15-19.

Driscoll, C. T., R. P. Mason, H. M. Chan, D. J. Jacob, and N. Pirrone. 2013. Mercury as a global pollutant: Sources, pathways, and effects. Environmental Science & Technology 47:4967-4983.