The Valles Caldera is described as an exceptional learning laboratory for studying the past and future climate change impacts on the environment. In the documentary, Valles Caldera: The Science, Dr. Peter Fawcett of the University of New Mexico describes how sediment cores taken from the ancient lake in the caldera give researchers clues to past climates. One of the clues is the different types of pollens that have been trapped in the sediment layers of the ancient lake in the Valles Caldera. Pollens from different plants can show how plants have changed over time in response to climate change. The cores also include mud cracks that are an indicator of drought during interglacial period (time between glaciers). Charcoal deposited from wildland fires is also an indicator of dry forests similar to the forests we see today. Scientists can look at the past climates and ask questions about future climates: How will human (anthropogenic) changes influence climate? What will be the impacts of climate change on our water quality and water supply?

Climate Change Curriculum Implementation

The video clips from Valles Caldera: The Sciencesets the stage for some of the significant climate change research that is taking place in the Valles Caldera. The headings under Climate Change describe the units: Valles Caldera Lake Cores, Anthropogenic Impacts and Impacts on Water Quality. The lessons explore the research through labs, activities, videos, and the interpretation of graphs and charts. In each unit a researcher is featured in the Researcher's Bio as well as a Research Data block designed to simulate questions about research.