CORVALLIS - Oregon State University is launching a new series of public lectures to honor John V. Byrne, past OSU president and former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All lectures in the series, entitled "Frontiers in Global Change: The Future of Our Oceans and Atmosphere," are free and open to the public.

The first presentation, "Is the Climate Changing?" by J. Michael Wallace, director of the NOAA and University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, is scheduled at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 16, at OSU's LaSells Stewart Center.

In the Byrne Lecture, Wallace will focus on the problem of detecting and identifying the human impact on climate change. While the 1995 Report of the International Panel on Climate Change contends that humans have a discernible impact on global climate, not all researchers agree. Wallace will discuss the skeptics' point of view and some of the contradictory evidence about climate change.

Wallace will also discuss possible connections between El Nino and global warming and present new evidence about recent circulation and temperature trends in the world's polar regions.

The series is inspired by the work of Byrne, who first joined OSU as an associate professor in the Department of Oceanography in 1960. Byrne became department chairman in 1968 and the first dean of the School of Oceanography in 1972. The college later merged with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences to form the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.

Byrne left Oregon State to serve as the director of NOAA from 1981-84 and then returned to Corvallis to become president of OSU. Byrne served as university president for 11 years before his retirement in 1995.

The John V. Byrne Lecture Series is sponsored by OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and Oregon Sea Grant. The series is designed to boost public awareness and discussion of issues affecting the global environment.


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Irma Delson, 541-737-5189