October 31 marked the official end of ozone season in Central Ohio. Thanks in large part to a cooler summer, air quality in Central Ohio during the 2013 summer season improved when compared to 2012. Ozone pollution forms when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from motor vehicles and power plants react with sunlight, making ozone pollution the most hazardous during the warmer months of the year.
"In 2012, temperatures were warmer than normal and precipitation was below normal across much of the Midwest, including Ohio," said Daniel Alrick, Sonoma Technologies, Inc., Meteorologist. "In contrast, temperatures in 2013 were slightly below normal across the region and were much cooler when compared to 2012. In addition, precipitation was above normal across Ohio in 2013.”
This combination of cooler temperatures, increased precipitation, and the associated cloud cover likely contributed to improved air quality overall during the summer of 2013.
Throughout the ozone season, April 1 through November 1, MORPC assesses forecasts provided by Sonoma Technologies, and issues Air Quality Alerts when levels of pollution are predicted to be harmful according to the national Air Quality Index.
Though weather factors influence ozone formation greatly, US EPA's 2008 National Emissions Inventory indicated that mobile sources like cars, trucks and buses contributed
60 percent of all VOC emissions that can form ozone pollution under the right conditions.
MORPC recommends actions like carpooling and fueling vehicles
after 6pm to improve air quality and to promote healthier communities. Visit airquality.morpc.org to view the end of season report and to sign up for free Air Quality Alerts.
MORPC is pleased to announce three new additions to its leadership team. Christina Panoska O’Keeffe will join MORPC as the new Director of Energy and Air Quality, MORPC's Kerstin Carr, Ph.D. will become Director of Planning and Environment, and MORPC's Nancy Reger, AICP, will become Director of Regional Data and Mapping.
O’Keeffe, a graduate of The Ohio State University, brings more than ten years of experience in the design and delivery of statewide and local programs to increase clean energy use among consumers, businesses and industry. She will begin on December 16. Currently, as interim deputy chief of the Office of Energy, Ohio Development Services Agency, O'Keefe develops and implements agency goals and objectives and leads a staff of nearly 20 technical, programmatic, and financial professionals who provide incentives and technical assistance for Ohioans to manage their energy costs through the use of energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative fuels and clean coal projects.
“We're excited to bring such an experienced and creative state leader to direct MORPC's services in energy, efficiency, and clean air for Central Ohio residents, businesses, and local governments,” states William Murdock, MORPC’s Executive Director. “Christina is a recognized expert in energy policy and financing who understands the impact of energy and air quality in improving health, financial stability for families, economic growth, and the quality of the environment.”
"I am honored to join the talented team at MORPC,” said O’Keeffe. “We will build upon the current energy and air quality programs and work alongside the communities and businesses that we serve on a smart, balanced energy plan that can sustain Central Ohio with jobs, reliable energy, and cleaner air."
Carr, a graduate of the University of Regensburg, Germany, and previous manager of MORPC’s Active Transportation and Safety Programs, has been with MORPC for nearly 8 years. Examples of her work include creating a comprehensive MORPC safety program, initiating an inter-agency safety partner program to improve crash data in Ohio, assessing MORPC’s Transportation Demand Management program, and leading the development and implementation of a regional Complete Streets policy.
"Kerstin brings significant expertise and dedication to planning, transportation, and sustainability to MORPC's efforts in strategic planning and environmental services,” said William Murdock, MORPC Executive Director. “We're looking forward to her leadership and innovation in developing new tools to improve Central Ohio's quality of life and environment."
"I am very excited about this new opportunity to lead a department centering on both regional and local planning efforts,” states Carr. “Much of the work is focused around providing planning guidance, best practices, and technical services for our member communities. The department helps fulfill MORPC's mission ensuring that our region continues to be successful into the future."
Carr also managed a $1.4 million federal planning project to incorporate all aspects of local food into the revitalization of a distressed Columbus neighborhood with a focus on creating jobs and educational opportunities.
Reger brings to this new position over 25 years of skills and experience in data collection and management. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Reger developed the Geographic Information System (GIS) and mapping department at MORPC, initiated an on-line mapping system, initiated Regional GIS User Group, initiated MORPC’s DataPort, and collaborated in the development of DataSource 2.0.
“Nancy is well known to local governments and professionals throughout Central Ohio for her expertise and public service,” stated William Murdock, MORPC’s Executive Director. “We're excited and very fortunate to have her leading MORPC's critical mapping and data services to help our region's governments to solve existing challenges and plan for growth.”
“Data is information in its rawest form,” states Reger. “To use it for making sound, thoughtful decisions, data must be collected, organized and delivered quickly to answer immediate questions. But it must also be analyzed, synthesized and digested to artfully tell the story hidden in the numbers.”
Reger also has vast experience in the coordination of comprehensive land use surveys, development of long-range forecasts of demographic and economic variables and preparation of population and socio-economic forecasts for transportation and general planning projects.
MORPC's Summit on Sustainability & the Environment took place Tuesday, October 8 at COSI, bringing people from around the region together to explore the challenges of going green with the theme, Building Resiliency for a Climate of Change. The event also presented the opportunity to recognize Central Ohio’s green leaders with the Green Region Awards.
The Green Leader Award went to Josh Knights, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy, Ohio Chapter for his leadership in establishing the Darby Headwaters Preserve and for leading the statewide coalition that successfully gained passage of two initiatives to continue funding for the Clean Ohio Fund programs.
The Green Collaborative Achievement Award went to the Marion Correctional Institution for their efforts in reducing their environmental footprint and saving taxpayer dollars, including food waste diversion, community gardening and energy reduction among others.
For more on the 2013 Green Region Award winners, see our press release.