Covering three-fourths of the planet, the ocean is Earth's most dominant feature, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory oceanographer Dr. William Patzert will explain how state-of- the-art technology at JPL is used to read the ocean's impact on climate and weather in public lectures to be held at JPL on Thursday, Dec. 14 and at Pasadena City College on Friday, Dec. 15.

Both lectures, called "Earth's Oceans -- When the Oceans Speak, We all Listen," will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Parking and admission are free, and seating is on a first-come, first- served basis.

Patzert will discuss the remarkable information that the U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon mission has provided regarding bizarre climate and weather patterns over the past three years. The recent El Nino and La Nina have caused extraordinary flooding in Peru and devastating drought in Indonesia. El Nino produced dramatic changes in the rainfall in Los Angeles and San Francisco and also caused dry weather in Seattle, where it usually rains nine months out of the year.

Patzert, who has been with JPL for nearly 20 years, began his oceanography career in the early 1970s. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics in 1964 from Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind. and a master's degree and doctorate in oceanography from the University of Hawaii in 1969 and 1972. Patzert has authored a variety of oceanography publications and received numerous achievement awards from NASA and JPL for his contributions to the TOPEX/Poseidon mission.

The lecture at JPL will be held in von Karman Auditorium, located at 4800 Oak Grove Dr. in Pasadena. The Pasadena City College lecture will take place on campus in Voslow Forum, located at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. More information on the von Karman lecture series can be obtained at or by calling (818) 354-0112. For directions to JPL, see .

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

News Media Contact

Gia Scafidi (818) 354-0372