Rob Cifelli

Image of Rob Cifelli


Lead, Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications Team


Hydrology Applications




(303) 497-7369


Dr. Cifelli is a radar meteorologist with over 25 years experience in precipitation research and over 50 publications in reviewed literature. Since 2009, he has led NOAA scientists dedicated to improving precipitation and hydrologic prediction in complex terrain and other geographic regions. He currently leads the Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications (HMA) Team within the Physical Sciences Laboratory at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratories. A major focus of HMA is to improve understanding of physical processes represented in the National Water Model and to guide future model development.

Rob completed a detail with the Bureau of Reclamation in 2016 through the President's Management Council Interagency Rotation Program. He continues to work closely with the Reclamation Research and Development Office on developing improved weather, climate, and water forecasts of extreme events to better meet water management needs. Dr. Cifelli also works closely with the NOAA Office of Water Prediction (OWP) on the evaluation of forcings for hydrologic prediction, physical process representation in the National Water Model, and coordination of quantitative precipitation estimation and forecast efforts across NOAA to address internal OWP and external stakeholder needs.

Research Interests

  • Radar Meteorology
  • Hydrology
  • Precipitation Processes


  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, May 1996
  • M.S., Hydrogeology, West Virginia University, Dec 1986
  • B.A., Geology, University of Colorado, May 1983

Professional Activities

Professional Memberships

  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Meteorological Society Water Resources Committee

Honors and Awards

  • UCAR Award for Education Outreach, 2009
  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, 2017 (Award to PSD for El Nino Rapid Response Field Campaign)
  • NOAA Administrators Award, 2017 (Russian River Habitat Blueprint)
  • CIRA Fellow