Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Committee Chair

Robin Tanamachi

Committee Member 1

Daniel Dawson II

Committee Member 2

Michael Baldwin


With the advent of rapidly scanning radar systems, it is imperative to automate the detection of features in radar images. We discuss efforts to objectively identify ZDR columns in X-band radar observations using the enhanced watershed algorithm (EWA; Lakshmanan et al. 2009), a method for identifying features in geospatial images. We discuss our choices for EWA parameters, including thresholds. The EWA is applied to ZDR observations of convective storms obtained during the 2016 and 2017 VORTEX-SE field campaign by the University of Massachusetts X-band, polarimetric, mobile Doppler radar (UMass X-Pol). During several intensive observing periods (IOPs), a variety of convective storm modes, including multicellular clusters, supercells and quasi-linear convective systems, were observed. Use of the EWA facilitates fast and objective tracking of the progression and behavior of each individual ZDR column, which is done using the Lakshmanan and Smith algorithm (LSA; Lakshmanan and Smith 2010).