Arctic ERMA® (Environmental Response Management Application)
As Arctic sea ice continues to contract and thin, energy exploration and transportation activities will be increasing in the region, escalating the risk of oil spills and accidents. In anticipation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and interagency partners are actively preparing for these possible emergencies.
As a result, NOAA and its partners have developed an Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) for the Arctic region. ERMA is a web-based GIS tool that assists both emergency responders and environmental resource managers in dealing with incidents that may harm the environment.
ERMA integrates and synthesizes data—some of which happens in real time—into a single interactive map, providing a quick visualization of the situation and improving communication and coordination among responders and environmental stakeholders.
ERMA brings together all of the available information needed for an effective emergency response in the Arctic's distinctive conditions, such as the extent and concentration of sea ice, locations of ports and pipelines, and vulnerable environmental resources.
In developing this project for the Arctic, NOAA has received valuable support from the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). This partnership with BSEE has improved access to key environmental, commercial, and industrial data sources throughout lease areas in the Arctic. NOAA is also working with indigenous communities to share information on how ERMA can best support an emergency response and protect the unique lifestyle and resources of the region.
Arctic ERMA is also a pilot project supporting the efforts of the Arctic Council's Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Working Group.