Back to top

Science of Oil Spills (SOS) 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 multi-day trainings cover topics including:

  • 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.

Most examples provided in the class relate to oil spills that have occurred in coastal and marine environments; however, much of this information applies regardless of the spill location (e.g., inland vs. coastal). To view the topics for the next SOS class, download a sample agenda [PDF, 170 KB].

Where and When

SOS classes are held 2-4 times per year in different regions of the United States. One course per year is held in the spring or summer at NOAA's Western Regional Center in Seattle. The next SOS classes will be held as follows:

  • New London, Connecticut, the week of June 8, 2020:  This SOS class has been cancelled.
  • Seattle, Washington, the week of June 22, 2020:  This SOS class has been cancelled.

NOTE: It is with an abundance of caution that NOAA is canceling this summer's SOS Classes. Due to the uncertain status of various states' stay-at-home orders and the social distancing guidance still in effect in the coming months, we have cancelled the in-person classroom training. We plan to host SOS classes in Seattle and Mobile in Fiscal Year 2021. We apologize for any inconvenience this cancellation has caused. Please contact the OR&R training team if you have any questions or concerns.

Accepted applicants will be sent an email containing information about hotel accommodations in the area, a map and directions to the class location, and information regarding the field trip and other logistics.

Please understand that SOS classes are not filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We try to diversify the participant composition to ensure a variety of perspectives and experiences, to enrich the class for the benefit of all participants. Classes are generally limited to 40 participants, to allow for personalized instruction.

Application Form

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

Online Application: The online application form will be available during the application period for each scheduled SOS class.

If you experience any problems with the submission of your application, please send us an email.

Questions:  Review our page, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SOS Classes. You're also welcome to contact us with questions, comments, or suggestions about SOS classes.

Stay Updated: If you'd like to receive updates about our activities and events, including future SOS classes, you can do that in these ways:

Go back to the Workshops page.

Last updated Tuesday, May 5, 2020 11:46pm PDT