Hurricane Research Division
NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149
Dr. Joseph J. Cione, a Lead Meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received his Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Meteorology with a concentration in Physical Oceanography at North Carolina State University. Cione was hired as a Federal Employee in 1995 and spent 2 years in Washington D.C. at OAR headquarters as US Weather Research Program Deputy Director before joining AOML’s Hurricane Research Division in Miami, FL in 1997. In June of 2014, Cione relocated to Boulder, Colorado and is currently on a multi-year detail at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Cione specializes in studies of atmospheric and oceanic boundary layer thermodynamic processes in hurricanes and extra-tropical winter storms. Throughout his career, Cione has shown an interest in exploring difficult to observe regions and has helped transition basic research into improved forecast operations. Some of his previous work illustrates a previously undocumented ‘direct link’ between storm-induced, ocean cooling and subsequent hurricane intensity change. These promising research findings were successfully incorporated into the operational version of the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in 2005. As a result of this integration, significantly improvements to SHIPS operational forecasts have been documented.
In 2005, Dr. Cione, in conjunction with NASA and Aerosonde Corporation collaborators, conducted the first successful unmanned aerial system (UAS) flight into the core of a mature tropical cyclone (Ophelia). In November of 2007, this same team conducted a record duration (17.5h), minimum altitude (82m) UAS mission directly into the center of Hurricane Noel. Near-surface wind measurements were reported to NOAA’s NHC in real time, enabling these critical data to be used in subsequent public forecasts and warnings. Related to these achievements, Cione received the United States Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award in April of 2010. In 2014, Cione and his team continued efforts to deploy low altitude small UAS into tropical cyclone environments. On September 16-17, 2014 the first aircraft-deployed UAS missions into a Hurricane were conducted. Using NOAA’s manned P-3 aircraft, two Coyote UAS, each measuring 13 pounds and 5 feet across were successfully launched into the atmospheric boundary layer of Hurricane Edouard. Cione, along with his NOAA team received the DoC Silver medal for these ground-breaking efforts in 2015. Follow on P-3/Coyote UAS hurricane missions were also successfully conducted in Major Hurricanes Maria (2017) and Michael (2018). Analyses from these flights been documented in an AMS BAMS article published in February 2020.
Today, as a Lead Meteorologist at HRD, Cione is spearheading a diverse mix of top scientists and engineers from the government, academia and the private sector. Under Cione’s leadership, the group, known as NEOTAC, is charged with identifying, sharing, developing, testing and implementing promising new emerging technologies and advanced concepts of operations. Additional information about NEOTAC, including past presentations, can be found below.
Current Research Projects
Manuscripts in Review
Recently Published Papers
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Awards and Honors
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