Allison Collow, Scientist, Earth Sciences

Allison Collow

Contact Info

Bldg 33, Room C208
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Phone: (301) 614-6653

Research Interests

A Reanalysis Synthesis of EOS observations for the National Climate Assessment:
Reanalyses such as MERRA-2 contain valuable information that can be used to evaluate the climate across the United States, how it has changed over the past 40 years, and the processes that result in extreme weather events that can be disseminated to the general public and decision makers. As part of this project, Dr. Collow's primary focus is to use the renanalysis products developed by the GMAO to determine the large scale influences that result in regional extreme precipitation events and heatwaves. As part of this work, Dr. Collow is the lead scientist for Atmospheric River Tracking Method Intercomparison Project's reanalysis intercomparison. Dr. Collow also contributes towards ensuring data produced by the GMAO is placed in a format that is easily understood by the public by calculating indices to represent characteristics of temperature and precipitation and placing output from MERRA-2 on GMAO's FLUID webpage.

Aerosols, Clouds, and Dynamics in the Southeast Atlantic Ocean:
Marine boundary layer clouds, including the transition from stratocumulus to cumulus, are poorly represented in numerical weather prediction and general circulation models, and the uncertainty associated with such clouds is even larger when in the presence of absorbing aerosol. Using observations collected from a recent field campaign in the Southeast Atlantic and data from MERRA-2, Dr. Collow is working on quantifying the radiative impact of biomass burning aerosol and how it impacts the life cycle of marine boundary layer clouds as a plume of absorbing aerosol travels from southern Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, Dr. Collow is working to understand why the plume of biomass burning aerosol descends too rapidly in the region.

Evaluation of Aerosols in GMAO Products:
As GEOS continues to evolve, it is important to ensure that the model represents the Earth system in an appropriate manner. Whether due to prescribed boundary conditions, the assimilation of new observations, or physical parameterizations, Dr. Collow works to determine why biases may be present in GEOS to these issues in future versions of the model. Most recently, Dr. Collow's focus has been placed on aerosols, particularly with respect to the CAMP2Ex field campaign.


Dr. Collow earned her PhD from Rutgers University in 2015. Her dissertation was titled "An Analysis of the radiation budget in two tropical continental atmospheric columns" and investigated the controls upon the radiation budget and cloud radiative effect on a diurnal and seasonal cycle in the Sahel region of West Africa and the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil. Dr. Collow joined the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) in April 2015 as a post doc working with Mike Bosilovich and has since transitioned into scientist position.