Australian government-funded study of deforestation, climate retracted for intellectual property conflicts
Ravinesh Deo, of the University of Southern Queensland, published “A review and modelling results of the simulated response of deforestation on climate extremes in eastern Australia” in Atmospheric Researchin May of this year.
Last week, this retraction notice appeared:
This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).
This article has been retracted at the request of the Author.
There is a conflict of intellectual property ownership of the published material. The research presented in this article originated from a government funding body Land and Water Australia. The project has lapsed in June 2009 and according to IP arrangements, the authors may not publish work that originated from this project.
The authors apologize sincerely for this oversight.
Here’s the abstract from the original paper:
The native vegetation cover in Australia has been modified extensively since the advent of European population. This was paralleled by increases in mean surface temperatures, decreases in mean rainfall and persistence of long-lasting and severe droughts, especially in eastern Australia. The purpose of this article is twofold: (1) to review the simulated response of deforestation on Australian droughts in light of the physics of land-surface processes, (2) to provide further analysis of the modelling results from the CSIRO Mark 3 Atmospheric Global Climate Model (AGCM) to quantify the changes in Australian droughts from the pre-European to modern-day land cover conditions. The simulated response for the austral summer for the modern-day period showed (1) a shift in the tails of the probability distribution functions of rainfall and temperature towards drier and warmer conditions, (2) a decrease in average rainfall between ~4–12%, (3) a reduction in average soil moisture by ~40%, (4) an increase dry spells by ~3–4 days, (5) a decrease in cumulative wet day rainfall between 10 and 25 mm day−1, (6) an increases in drought duration by ~6–12 consecutive days and an increase in drought severity by ~4–8%, (7) an average warming of ~0.4–3.6 °C, and an increase in dry spells by ~6–9 days for the 1982/83 El Niño event. These changes were statistically significant at the 95% confidence level using the non-parametric bootstrapping procedure. The simulated changes in atmospheric variables indicate that deforestation has been a contributing factor to the observed increases in drought severity and duration in eastern Australia.
It’s not clear why a researcher wouldn’t have the right to use data from a government program — particularly now that it’s been shuttered, meaning the data are now in limbo. We’ve tried Deo for comment, and will update with anything we learn.
Update, 10 a.m. Eastern, 4/28/14: Corrected Deo’s affiliation to University of Southern Queensland. Apologies for the error.