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OR&R Prepares for 2024 International Oil Spill Conference

APRIL 15, 2024 — In a few weeks time, spill response community professionals from around the nation and the world will gather at the 2024 International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC 2024), to be held May 13-16 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

International Oil Spill Conference 2024 poster featuring a turtle swimming underwater.
International Oil Spill Conference 2024 Poster.

The IOSC provides an ideal opportunity for spill professionals to foster and strengthen relationships with government and industry partners, to share experiences, and keep up-to-date with the latest developments and technologies. The conference is part of a triennial series of events, including Interspill in Europe and Spillcon in Asia. The rotating conferences provide a platform for the sharing of oil spill preparedness and response expertise and ideas from around the globe.

NOAA is one of seven permanent sponsoring organizations that manage the IOSC through an Executive Committee. In addition to that involvement, OR&R staff are actively planning their upcoming participation. Among the conference activities will be platform sessions, poster presentations, a film festival and photo gallery, and a technical demonstration on the mechanics of oil spill response and the various countermeasures and strategies used to clean up a spill. 

OR&R scientists will support colleagues from the Satellite Analysis Branch of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) in this year’s Technical Demonstration: Past, Present and Future – The Evolution of Oil Spill Response. The Tech Demo will be a guided tour on the mechanics of oil spill response and the various countermeasures and strategies used by the industry and government to clean up spills. At one of the seven Demo stations, NESDIS and OR&R scientists will share with participants how NOAA uses state-of-the-art sensors to detect and track spilled oil.

As in prior years, NOAA has served as the organizer for IOSC’s offering of Short Courses, and OR&R specialists are co-teaching the following three courses. We expect the discussions will be practical, informative, and lively, so come join us!

Basic Oil Spill Forecasting and Modeling

This course, introducing the fundamentals of oil spill transport, fate, and effects analyses using computer modeling, will be co-taught by OR&R’s Christopher Barker, PhD and Amy MacFadyen, PhD and RPS North America’s Matt Horn and Deborah French McCay, PhD. Applications discussed will include forecasting for spill response, hindcasting, response planning, and risk assessment in marine and inland waters. 

Aerial Surveillance of Oil Spills

Observation from the air can provide information to maximize the deployment and control of spill response operations at sea, the strategic and timely protection of sites along threatened coastlines and the management of resources for shoreline clean-up. This 4-hour course, taught by OR&R scientific support coordinator Adam Davis, and Miguel Patel, Technical Adviser at ITOPF, provides an introduction to planning and conducting an effective aerial surveillance strategy. Guidance will be provided on preparing and performing aerial observation missions for each of the three main types of platforms available: aircraft, uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), and satellites. 

Hands On: NOAA Tools for Basic Oil Spill Forecasting and Modeling

An OR&R team—Christopher Barker, Dylan Righi (contractor with Genwest Systems), Dalina Thrift-Viveros, and Amy MacFadyen—will teach this 4-hour course, in which participants will get hands-on experience using the GNOME (General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment) Suite for predicting oil spill fate and transport. The course will cover numerous topics: oil weathering analysis; oil trajectory modeling; adjusting model parameters; interpreting results; selecting appropriate oil records; accessing maps; accessing oceanographic and meteorological data; file formats for input data; file formats for disseminating model results; and handling uncertainty.

OR&R scientists are planning to present a number of papers, on topics ranging from the challenges and innovations in response modeling; the current state of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) mapping program; replanting tactics after a diesel spill; chemical and physical analysis of petroleum; the movement of crude and diesel oil under ice, prioritizing shoreline response research, spill response best management practices for aquaculture sites, among others. If you aren’t able to attend IOSC 2024, look for OR&R publications in the IOSC Proceedings, where OR&R authored papers have often been decorated as “most read.” 

We look forward to seeing you at IOSC 2024 to hear forward-thinking keynote speakers, learn about the latest research in the oil spill response community, enjoy purposeful networking opportunities, and explore an exhibit hall filled with industry-leading organizations.

For more information, see the 2024 IOSC website or contact OR&R specialists at

Last updated Friday, April 19, 2024 2:06pm PDT