Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019NJ181B

Monitoring chlorophyll-a concentration in New Jersey lakes using remote sensing and ground observations

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-31 End Date: 2020-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $13,400 Total Non-Federal Funds: $26,933

Principal Investigators: Marzi Azarderakhsh

Abstract: The presence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) occurs when colonies of cyanobacteria grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on humans, fish and livestock. They are among most important factors that threaten water quality of lakes. Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration can be a very strong proxy of lake water quality and trophic state. Therefore, many efforts are put into measuring and predicting the Chl-a concentration. Currently, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Ambient Lake Monitoring Network monitors a finite number of lakes throughout the state each year. The data collection for these lakes is sparse and some are only monitored once per year. Therefore, there is a lack of continuous data record of Chl-a level in NJ lakes for effective water quality management. An alternative, or complement, to in situ measurements is satellite remote sensing technology to derive water quality parameters. Many remote sensing algorithms have been previously proposed for large scale and national level using observations from Landsat and Sentinel-2A satellites. While these models perform reasonably at large scale, their applicability and reliability in local scale (such as New Jersey) is far from guaranteed. Here, we propose a study to utilize observations from Landsat 7, 8 and Sentinel-2A satellites to estimate and evaluate exiting models. The study will perform a thorough analysis of these satellites and the models. The results will be used to develop a regionally robust algorithm and data product that is validated using in situ data.