An adaptive tracking algorithm for convection in simulated and remote sensing data

Bhupendra A. Raut, Robert Jackson, Mark Picel, Scott M. Collis, Martin Bergemann, Christian Jakob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A robust and computationally efficient object tracking algorithm is developed by incorporating various tracking techniques. Physical properties of the objects, such as brightness temperature or reflectivity, are not considered. Therefore, the algorithm is adaptable for tracking convection-like features in simulated data and remotely sensed two-dimensional images. In this algorithm, a first guess of the motion, estimated using the Fourier phase shift, is used to predict the candidates for matching. A disparity score is computed for each target–candidate pair. The disparity also incorporates overlapping criteria in the case of large objects. Then the Hungarian method is applied to identify the best pairs by mini-mizing the global disparity. The high-disparity pairs are unmatched, and their target and candidate are declared expired and newly initiated objects, respectively. They are tested for merger and split on the basis of their size and overlap with the other objects. The sensitivity of track duration is shown for different disparity and size thresholds. The paper highlights the algorithm’s ability to study convective life cycles using radar and simulated data over Darwin, Australia. The algorithm skillfully tracks individual convective cells (a few pixels in size) and large convective systems. The duration of tracks and cell size are found to be lognormally distributed over Darwin. The evolution of size and precipitation types of isolated con-vective cells is presented in the Lagrangian perspective. This algorithm is part of a vision for a modular platform [viz., TINT is not TITAN (TINT) and Tracking and Object-Based Analysis of Clouds (tobac)] that will evolve into a sustainable choice to analyze atmospheric features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-526
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Algorithms
  • Cloud tracking/cloud motion winds
  • Convective-scale processes
  • Radars/Radar observations
  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite observations
  • Storm tracks

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