Oil spills cause enormous amounts of damage to ocean and coastal ecosystems and the human populations that depend on them for subsistence, employment, and commerce. These resources speak to the effects of oil spills and aid educators in teaching about these catastrophic events.
Sources of Data and Information
General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME) (more info) GNOME is the oil spill trajectory model used by NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration Emergency Response Division (ERD) responders during an oil spill. The program takes user input of information about a spill, along with a Location File containing prepackaged tide and current data for the region of interest (also available via this page), and generates an oil spill &amp;quot;movie&amp;quot; showing the predicted trajectory of the oil. This page provides information on downloading and using the GNOME software.
Oil Spill Model (more info) This interactive flash model from the Living Ocean Society allows users to the explore hypothetical oil spills in the Hecate Straight off the northwest coast of Canada. The several scenarios include oil rig spills, spills from oil tankers, as well as accidents involving other vessels. Users can see how the seasonal winds and tides affect which areas are affected by a particular spill.
What happens when an oil spill occurs? (more info) This online investigation from Exploring Earth allows students to explore the effects oil spills have on coastlines as well as how wind and waves help determine what areas of coastline are affected by a spill.
Oils Spills (more info) This page from the US Environmental Protection Agency's Emergency Management division outlines EPA programs to prevent and respond to oil spill events. There is also information available on the environmental dangers posed by oil and how different technologies are used to clean up spills both in oceans and freshwater.