Studies of records of past change have shown that the past can be the key to the future. This includes the discovery of mechanisms such as ocean circulation that bear on projected major changes in 21st-century climate. Challenges facing 21st-century Texas involve complex interactions between climate, ecosystems, and humans. Understanding these past interactions may help prepare us for the future. Yet, despite a growing body of data for these systems in Texas produced by various disciplines, we lack an understanding of their interconnections. Our research questions center on the period of significant global changes during the past 20,000 years in central Texas:
- What climate change mechanisms influenced Texas during this period? How do these compare with 21st-century projections? Did extended droughts shift the position of the 100th Meridian climatic boundary?
- To what extent did climate and/or ancient societies impact Texas’ biodiversity?
- Did human settlement change in response to climate change?
- Do messages that include observations of paleoclimate change induce stronger intentions to learn than messages that include future projections?
Daniel Breecker (project lead – JSG), Jay Banner (JSG), Christopher Bell (JSG), Jonathan Jarvis (TARL), Lee Ann Kahlor (Advertising and Public Relations, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies), Melissa Kemp (Integrative Biology), Adam Rabinowitz (Classics), Timothy Shanahan (JSG), Stacie Skwarcan (JSG), and Darrel Tremaine (ESI)