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    ABSTRACT: The Sturtian and Marinoan snowball Earth episodes initiated 720 and 650 million years ago, respectively, are among the most dramatic events in Earth's history. The ultimate causes of these events remain obscure, however, and there is still uncertainty about the critical levels of greenhouse gas concentrations at which the snowball transition occurs. Furthermore, earlier modelling results (with incomplete representations of important boundary conditions) provided conflicting indications for differences between the critical carbon dioxide concentrations for the Marinoan and the Sturtian, reporting either the earlier or the later epoch to be more susceptible to global glaciation. Both the absolute values of and possible differences between these glaciation thresholds have profound implications for scenarios of snowball initiations during the Neoproterozoic. Here, we present coupled climate simulations (using an ocean general circulation model with dynamic/thermodynamic sea ice coupled to a fast atmosphere) focusing on the differences between the Neoproterozoic glaciations. For the first time, our simulations use realistic boundary conditions in terms of changes in solar luminosity between the two epochs and the most recent continental reconstructions. In agreement with previous studies with models including ocean and sea-ice dynamics, we report low values for the critical carbon dioxide concentration during the Neoproterozoic. But in contrast to hints from earlier studies we find very similar values of 100–130 ppm for the snowball bifurcation point during the Sturtian and Marinoan. This highlights the importance of realistic boundary conditions for climate simulations of the Neoproterozoic glaciations.
    Earth and Planetary Science Letters 10/2014; 404:200–205.
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    ABSTRACT: In our field experiment carried out with stakeholders from the Chinese Haihe River Basin, a group of five players located along an irrigation channel first decide on the amount they would invest in a public fund for channel maintenance. In the next step, they choose the amount of water to withdraw from the channel to irrigate their plots of land. We compare the effects of different rules of water distribution and communication on three types of group participants: farmers, water administrators and students. The power asymmetry in the location along the irrigation channel was the most important factor affecting players' investment and water harvest decisions. The introduction of rules of water distribution only weakly altered the effect of power asymmetry but communication and the ability to modify the rules did reduce the effects. This result was strongest among the students and administrators and weakest among the farmers. In addition, farmers tended to break the rules more frequently and withdraw more water than agreed upon.
    Ecological Economics 03/2014; 99:10–20.
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    ABSTRACT: The increasing cultivation of energy crops for biofuel production has significantly altered the focus of the agricultural sector, but the impact of biofuel production and use is not merely an agricultural one. Even more importantly, it is an issue, which likely promotes inequitable conditions and the social conflict of different (basic) needs. Within this context, the dominant argument criticizes the growing demand for biofuels in the north to compromise food security and sovereignty in the south. In order to address these trade-offs and conflicts, the objective of this paper is the introduction of a conceptual framework of socio-environmental services. By expanding the construct of environmental services to explicitly include the social dimension, it shall accommodate for the fact that the provision of environmental services is often embedded in a complex system of global (economic, ecological as well as social) interdependencies. Recently, the concept of payments for environmental services (PES) has received much attention with respect to its potential contribution to both environmental sustainability and the economic alleviation of poverty. By linking the idea of payments for socio-environmental services (PSES) to the three functions of justice, its beneficial impact may be more fully tapped.
    Ecological Economics 01/2014; 97:84–92.

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