Allen Research Group

Hail - Tornadoes - Climate Variability - Extremes

Allen Photo

Dr. John T. Allen

Curriculum Vitae

j [dot] t [dot] allen [at] cmich [dot] edu
Dr. Allen is a meteorologist and climate scientist, originally from Sydney, Australia. He completed his B.S. Degree in Earth Sciences (Meteorology and Applied Mathematics) at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and went on to pursue an honors degree in meteorology and subsequently a doctorate at the same institution with support from an Australian Postgraduate Award federal scholarship. In 2013 he began a three-year Postdoctoral appointment at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, before promotion to an Associate Research Scientist, a position he would hold until he joined CMU in the summer of 2016. Beyond his research at CMU Dr Allen teaches Atmospheric Thermodynamics, Mesoscale Meteorology and Atmospheric Modeling, along with an introductory course on Severe and Unusual Weather.

His research interests span the operational forecasting of severe storms to applied analysis of risk statistics. Many of his publications focus on the climatology of historical severe weather events, and the response of these events to climate change and variability. This includes contributions to our understanding of severe thunderstorms and extreme weather over four continents, as well as exploring our global knowledge on the topic. His research and contributions have been featured in Science, Nature, Scientific American,, Die Welt, The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, CBC News and ABC Radio National Australia. More recent research directions include: fieldwork as a co-lead of two National Geographic Expeditions Council funded projects focusing on novel tornado observations, bayesian statistics and exploring applications of supervised and unsupervised machine learning to characterize atmospheric phenomena.

Group Members


We are always looking for students to join our group. Feel free to email Dr. Allen with questions.


Graduate Students

Cameron Nixon


nixon3cj [at] cmich [dot] edu
Cameron joined the group at CMU in Fall 2019, pursuing his Ph.D. in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program, supported by the NSF PREEVENTS hail project (NSF-AGS1855054).

Cameron's research focus is on the wind environments associated with supercell storms, especially those producing hail. Cameron graduated with a B.S. in Meteorology from Valparaiso University, and comes to the group after completing research as a Masters student at Texas Tech University looking at lightning as a predictor for tornadic activity.

Nicholas Bogen

Nick Photo

bogen1nr [at] cmich [dot] edu
Nick graduated in Spring 2019 in Meteorology degree from Central Michigan University, and as of Summer 2019 is pursuing an accelerated Masters of Science in Geographic Information Science program through the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at CMU. His research project linking GIS and Meteorology relates to the impacts of hail on agricultural losses across the United States.

Undergraduate Students

Daniel Butler

Dan Photo

CMU Senior
Dan is looking at approaches to derive novel tornado observations from storm chaser imagery. During summer 2019 he participated in the TORUS field campaign. Dan is hoping to go to graduate school to pursue research related to severe convective storms.

Olivia Vanbuskirk

Olivia Photo

CMU Senior
Olivia is looking at the distributional characteristics of hail size over major metropolitan areas. Olivia is a recent recipient of the American Meteorological Societies Women in Science Scholarship, and completed a summer REU at the University of Michigan.

Daniel Macha

CMU Sophomore
Daniel is looking at approaches to correct the historical record of hail incidence.

Elizabeth Wawrzyniak

CMU Sophomore
Liz is looking at severe storms environments and how they vary geographically.

Dennis Weaver

Dennis Photo

CMU Junior
Dennis is a NOAA Hollings scholar, and is looking at approaches that can be used with storm data to infer the resulting impacts to property and life.

Group Alumni

Dr. Maria J. Molina

Maria Photo

timme1mj [at] cmich [dot] edu
Maria successfully defended her Ph.D. in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program in April 2019, and is now an NCAR ASP Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Maria's research focus was on extreme weather and climate. Maria completed her Masters of Climate and Society thesis with Dr. Allen at Columbia University. Her Ph.D. research focused on the variability of severe convective storms, exploring these problems through the use of climatological analysis of observations and favorable environments, the moisture origins of tornadic storms using Lagrangian parcel trajectories and attributing tornado activity to anomalous sea surface temperatures using modeling perturbation studies. Maria won a Student Oral Presentation Award at the 29th AMS Conference on Severe Local Storms for her work using Lagrangian parcel trajectories.

Anthony Wilson

Anthony Photo

Currently CMU Geography Major
Anthony completed a McNair Scholars summer project during 2018 and will be participating in NCAR's SOARS program summer 2019.

Emily Tinney (CMU Grad 2018)

Emily Photo

Currently MS Student, University of Oklahoma
Emily completed an Honors Thesis and research project on climate change and severe storms during 2017/2018.

Cody Converse (CMU Grad 2018)

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Currently MS Student, Northern Illinois University

Cody completed an independent research project on the sensitivity hail to simulated storms in WRF to microphysical parameterizations.

Brent Hewett (CMU Grad 2017)


Currently MS Student, Ball State University
& NWS Intern, Minneapolis

Brent completed an independent research project looking at radar derived precipitation over the Davis Mountains in West Texas.

Matthew Tuftedal (CMU Grad 2017)

Matt Photo

Currently MS Student, University of North Dakota
Matt completed an independent study on the August 2016 Grand Rapids Tornado Outbreak.

Jaris Dingman (CMU Grad 2017)

Current Position Unknown
Jaris completed an independent research project looking at tornado occurrence over Michigan.