Science of Oil Spills Classes
A group of students work together during an SOS class.

Science of Oil Spills (SOS) classes help spill responders increase their understanding of oil spill science when analyzing spills and making risk-based decisions. They are designed for new and mid-level spill responders.

These trainings cover:

  • Fate and behavior of oil spilled in the environment.
  • An introduction to oil chemistry and toxicity.
  • A review of basic spill response options for open water and shorelines.
  • Spill case studies.
  • Principles of ecological risk assessment.
  • A field trip.
  • An introduction to damage assessment techniques.
  • Determining cleanup endpoints.

To view the topics for the next SOS class, download a sample agenda [PDF, 170 KB].

Where and When

SOS classes are held annually, usually in the spring at NOAA's Western Regional Center in Seattle, Washington. Class sizes are limited to allow for personalized instruction.

The next SOS class will be held August 4–8, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Class will begin on Monday afternoon, August 4, and will conclude at noon on Friday, August 8. The application period for this class has closed, and applicants have been notified of their application status. Accepted applicants will be sent an email containing information about hotel accommodations in the area, a map and directions to the workshop location, as well as information regarding the field trip and other logistics.

Dates and locations for next fiscal year's SOS classes have not been finalized. The class originally planned for Honolulu, Hawaii, has been removed from the schedule; however, we are currently planning these classes:

  • Houston, Texas: Date to be determined
  • Mobile, Alabama, at the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center: Date to be determined (likely in winter)
  • Seattle, Washington: Spring or summer 2015
  • An additional SOS class, with the place and date to be determined.

We are not accepting applications for classes at this time. An announcement will be posted to the website when the application period opens.

Please be advised that SOS classes are not filled on a first-come, first-served basis. NOAA ERD tries to diversify the participant composition to ensure a variety of perspectives and experiences to enrich the workshop for the benefit of all participants. Classes are generally limited to 40 participants.

Application Form

There is no tuition for SOS classes; however, attendees are responsible for their own travel costs.

Download the SOS class application form [PDF, 315 KB]. You can send your application in one of two ways:

  1. Download and complete the form, then email it to
    Note: Use the latest version of Adobe Reader, Reader XI, to complete this fillable PDF.
  2. Print your completed form, and then mail it to the address shown at the bottom of the application.

Questions: Contact us with questions, comments, or suggestions about SOS classes.

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