I don’t think I need to add much to Deep Climate’s dissection of McKitrick’s claims that one of his papers has been unfairly rejected, so I’ll just make three quick points. McKitrick claims:
There was some excitement when a blogger found a minor error in our computer code (we had released the code at the time of publication), but we sent a correction to the journal right away and showed that the results hardly changed.
correcting the error halves the size of the economic signal in the warming trend, reducing it from 0.16 (out of 0.27) to 0.09. McKitrick’s correction states:
Outside the dry/cold regions the measured temperature change is significantly (previous: primarily ) influenced by economic and social variables.
That’s quite a difference, so how can he say that their conclusions were not affected? Well, all the conclusion says is that there were socioeconomic effects, without mentioning their size. The size of the effects, which change substantially, are only mentioned in the body.
Secondly, Gavin Schmidt has conclusively demonstrated that McKitrick’s correlations of temperature trends with economic indices are spurious, by showing that you get similarly “significant” correlations with trends from climate models which are independent by construction of such indices.
Thirdly, McKitrick has known about the problems with his theory for about ten years now. See Robert Grumbine’s comments on the first (unpublished) version of McKitrick’s theory:
He was fooling around with correlating per capita income with the observed temperature changes. He concluded that the warming was a figment of climatologists imaginations, as there was a correlation between money and warming. ‘Obviously’ this had to be due to wealth creating the warming in the dataset, rather than any climate change—his conclusion.
Along the way he:
1) selected a subset of temperature records
1a) without using a random method
1b) without paying attention to spatial distribution
1c) without ensuring that the records were far enough apart to be independant—ok, I shouldn’t say ‘he’ did it, because he didn’t. He blindly took a selection that his student made and which was—to my eyes—distributed quite peculiarly.
2) Treated the records as being independant (I know William knows this, but for some other folks: Surface temperature records are correlated across fairly substantial distances—a few hundred km. This is what makes paleoreconstructions possible, and what makes it possible to initialize global numerical weather prediction models with so few observations.)
3) Ignored that we do expect, and have reason to expect that the warming will be higher in higher latitudes
4) Ignored that the wealthy countries are at higher latitudes
Hence my calling it fooling around rather than work or study. He was, he said, submitting that pile of tripe* to a journal.
*pile of tripe being my term, not his.
His main conclusion was regarding climate change—namely that there isn’t any. His secondary conclusion was that climate people studying climate data were idiots. Neither of those is a statement of economics, so my knowledge of economics is irrelevant (though, in matter of fact, it is far greater than his knowledge of climate; this says little, as his displayed level doesn’t challenge a bright jr. high student.).