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NOAA Emergency Response Division NOAA Scientific Support for Incident Response. John Tarpley NOAA ERD Response Operations Branch Chief John [email protected] Primary LCDR Liz Jones, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator US Coast Guard District 9

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NOAA Scientific Support for Incident Response

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Emergency Response Division

NOAAScientific Support for Incident Response

John Tarpley

NOAA ERD Response Operations Branch Chief

John [email protected]

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LCDR Liz Jones, NOAA

Scientific Support Coordinator

US Coast Guard District 9

1240 East Ninth Street

Cleveland, OH 44199

Phone (206) 849-9918

[email protected]


Charlie Henry

Scientific Support Coordinator

US Coast Guard District 8

500 Poydras ST, Ste. 1341

New Orleans, LA 44199

Phone (206) 849-9948

[email protected]

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NOAA’s roles during spills

  • Scientific Support to FOSCs

    • Oil Chemistry, Fate, Movement

    • Effects on Natural Resources

    • Shoreline Assessment

    • Cleanup Recommendations

  • Natural Resource Trustee

    • Resource information

    • Resource management mandates

    • Natural Resource Damage Assessment & Restoration

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NOAA Scientific Support

  • Response support provided by Emergency Response Division “NOAA HazMat”

  • NOAA Hazmat has provided “all hazards” response support for more than 30 years

  • Provides support for more than 120 responses each year

  • NOAA HazMathas a wide range of scientific expertise with extensive response experience

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Domestic incidents

  • Jacob Lukenbach

  • Puerto Rican

  • New Carissa

  • Athos I

  • Selendang

  • DBL-152

  • Katrina spills

  • Katrina orphan HAZMAT containers

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International incidents

  • Prestige (Spain)

  • Solar I (Phillipines)

  • M/V Jessica (Galapagos)

  • Desert Storm (Persian Gulf)

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Non-traditional support

  • Ehime Maru

  • Alaska Airlines Flight 261

  • John F. Kennedy, Jr. airplane debris

  • USS Intrepid

  • 9/11

  • Whale carcasses

  • Body recoveries

  • Humphrey the whale

  • Spartina seed dispersion in Puget Sound

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Some background

  • T/V Argo Merchant (1976) demonstrated need for scientific support

  • NCP established scientific support for EPA & USCG

  • T/V Exxon Valdez (1989) prompted OPA 90 & Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs) as “Special Teams”

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What We Do

  • Response:modeling, shoreline assessment, resource assessment, weather coordination, overflights, data management

  • Preparedness:drill support, response guidelines, ESIs, training and outreach

  • Development:tools, models, web access

  • Coordination: States, academia,

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NOAA SSCs at USCG Districts

John Whitney


Ruth Yender, Seattle

Steve Lehman


LCDR Liz Jones


Ed Levine,

New York

Jordan Stout, Alameda

Frank Csulak,

Sand y Hook, NJ

Charlie Henry,

New Orleans

Plus Caribbean

Brad Benggio


HI, Guam, & Pacific Trust Territories

Ruth Yender, Seattle

Jim Jeansonne,

St. Petersburg

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NOAA RRT Reps in EPA Regions

Region AK,

Doug Helton,


Alt. John Whitney,


Region I,

Steve Lehman, Boston

Alt. Ed Levine, NY

Region V, VII,

Steve Lehman, Boston

Alt. LCDR Liz Jones, Cleveland

Region VIII,

LCDR Liz Jones,


Alt. Charlie Henry, New Orleans

Region II,

Frank Csulak,

Sand Point, NJ,

Alt. Ed Levine, NY

Region X,

Ruth Yender,


Alt. Gary Shigenaka, Seattle

Region III,

Ed Levine, NY,

Alt. Frank Csulak, NJ

Region IX,

Jordan Stout, Alameda,

Alt. Doug Helton,


Region IV & Caribbean,

Brad Benggio


Alt. Jim Jeansonne,

St. Petersburg

Region VI,

Charlie Henry,

New Orleans,

Alt. Jessica White,

Silver Spring

Region Oceania

Ruth Yender, Seattle

Alt. Jordan Stout,


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How we Meet our Requirements

  • A 24/7 national network

  • Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs) with distributed presence

  • On-call experts

  • Integration with other Federal agencies and State/local responders

  • Reliable databases, models, tools

  • Provide credible, timely and appropriate advice

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Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC):

  • Principal advisors to FOSC for scientific issues for oil and hazardous material incidents (all hazards)

  • Coordinate the scientists providing support to the FOSC to achieve consensus, while keeping the IC aware of differing opinions

  • Are supported by a scientific support team (SST)

  • Supports Regional Response Teams (RRT),

    Area Committees and response agencies for spill response preparedness, contingency planning, training, and exercises

  • May facilitate coordination with the natural resource Trustees for NRDA activities

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NOAA in the RRT

  • SSC is generally the RRT representative

  • NOAA SSC may function as natural resource trustee on RRT , but usually defers to NMFS

  • SSC not trustee rep in RESPONSE MODE

  • SSC always facilitates trustee coordination

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EPA and USCG “Models” for SSC Use

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Why are EPA SSC and USCG SSC Models Different?

  • Cultural & Practical Agency differences

    • Military Agency compared to Civilian Agency

    • Geographical Areas of Responsibility differ

    • Duties of OSC dramatically differ

    • “Parallel independent evolution” on use of SSC and Environmental Unit

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USCG OSC duties

Environmental duty

Heavy interaction with responsible parties

Drug interdiction

Vessel safety

Port security

Search & Rescue

OSC (Captain) staff

Admin & personnel duties

EPA OSC duties

Environmental duty

Obtain appropriate technical support whether EPA or contractor support

No OSC staff


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Military structure

Broad responsibility

Technical focus – Ancillary duty

Limited contractor use

PD - Captain of Port


Narrower focus

Technical focus – Primary duty

Heavy contractor use


USCG OSC and EPA OSCNecessary Outcomes

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  • Both “models” good for their application

  • Fully functional

  • Neither right or wrong

  • Leads to different use of SSC

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  • NCP recognizes different SSC response approaches

  • USCG/NOAA SSC model - Coastal Zone

    • USCG OSC request SSC from NOAA

    • NOAA specific contact mechanisms

    • SSC responds promptly

  • Only 9 NOAA SSCs nation-wide

    • Located w/in USCG Districts to support District and Sector OSCs

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  • USCG requests an SSC or scientific support frequently

  • All large responses

  • Many small responses

  • SSC is a science &

    engineering advisor to FOSC

    • EPA often seeks this advice from contractors

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Scientific Support Team (SST)(the folks who make the SSC look good)

  • SSC’s often manage a team of NOAA & non-NOAA scientists:

    • Oceanographers

    • Modelers

    • Biologists

    • Chemists

    • Physicists

    • Weather Forecasters

    • Info. Management Specialists

    • Others

  • Team composition will be spill-specific to meet the needs & demands of the incident & the FOSC

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During an incident


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During an incident


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What happened?

Where does it go?

Who does it hit?

How does it hurt?

So what?

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Incident support might include:

  • Direct SSC & on-scene science support

  • Modeling & trajectory forecasts

  • Pollutant chemistry, fate & environmental effects

  • Incident-specific weather forecasts

  • Tides & currents

  • Overflight observations

  • Natural resources at risk (RAR)

  • Information management

  • Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT)

  • Environmental issues & trade-offs

  • Cleanup recommendations & monitoring

  • Special Consultation

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Environmental & HazMat Chemistry

Staff chemists (Seattle)

  • Response Support

  • CAMEO/ADIOS/CAFE Development

  • Chemical Reactivity

    Contract lab support (LSU)

  • Hazard characterization

  • Field Support (Sampling &


  • Training

    Analytical Support

  • GC/MS Oil Fingerprinting

  • GC/MS Quantitative Analyses

  • On-Site Analytical Chemistry

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Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Maps

Quick reference for:

  • Shoreline geomorphology

  • Habitats

  • Wildlife resources

  • Human-use resources

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Databases & pollutant modeling software

  • CAMEO/ALOHA (Computer-Aided Mgmt of Emergency response)

  • Oil Modeling Products

    • ADIOS2 (weathering)

    • GNOME (trajectory)

  • Fate Modeling for Chemicals in Aquatic Environments (under development)

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HAZMAT Chemical Products



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HAZMAT Oil Spill Products




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Field support

  • SCAT

  • Cleanup recommendations

  • Monitoring & Oversight

  • Information Management

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Overflight observations

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Support between incidents

  • Planning

    • ACPs, RRT, JRT

    • ERAs, GRPs & TAP

  • POC for NOAA models

  • Drill support

  • Training

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3-D modeling

Trajectory Analysis Planner

Modeling & Tool Development

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Training & Outreach

  • 1000+ students/year in

    40+ training courses/year

  • More than half a million

    website visitors/year

    • Provide Software, photos,

      guides and job aids, training materials


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Factsheets, manuals & job aids

  • Shoreline Assessment Manual

  • SCAT

  • Oil Observation Job Aids

  • Response in Tropical Habitats

  • Spills & Seafood Safety

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An FOSC’s Guide to NOAA Scientific Support

  • Written specifically for federal on-scene coordinators (FOSCs)

  • Compact size: 8 ½ x 5 ½”

  • Electronic version on the Web at:


    Hyperlinked to files, Websites, emails, ICS forms, etc.

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LCDR Liz Jones, NOAA

Scientific Support Coordinator

US Coast Guard District 9

1240 East Ninth Street

Cleveland, OH 44199

Phone (206) 849-9918

[email protected]

Charlie Henry

Scientific Support Coordinator

US Coast Guard District 8

500 Poydras ST, Ste. 1341

New Orleans, LA 44199

Phone (206) 849-9948

[email protected]

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