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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Chlorophyll Remote Sensing

NJDEP’s Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring, in cooperation with the NJ Forest Fire Service, Rutgers University and US EPA Region 2, conducts aircraft remote sensing for estimating chlorophyll levels in NJ's coastal waters. Since chlorophyll is a plant pigment, high levels of chlorophyll in the water are typically associated with an algal bloom. To detect potential blooms, the plane flies 6 days a week during the summer months, in favorable weather conditions, over the coastal waters of New Jersey. These flights provide a valuable perspective on water conditions and trends that enable the Bureau to target boat sampling in locations where algal blooms may be occurring.

Year Month Day

Est. Chlorophyll a
( ug/L )

Chlorophyll levels> 12 ug/l are not necessarily harmful to human health or shellfish for consumption but do give the Bureau information on where to target more intensive boat sampling. Results from boat samples can be obtained by calling the Bureau at 609-748-2000.

NOTE: Data is posted to the website as soon as possible after the plane lands. On days when we experience dense fog, these conditions can cause light scattering to saturate the remote sensor. This light scattering effect compromises the sensor's ability to accurately measure chlorophyll 'a' in NJ's marine waters. This compromised data is removed from the database as part of routine QA/QC.

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Last Updated: February 3, 2020