Solar Update March 2012

by David Archibald

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Figure 1: Heliospheric Current Sheet Tilt Angle 1976 – 2012

The heliospheric current sheet tilt angle is currently at 67°. Solar maximum occurs when it reaches 74° – so a little bit further to go.

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Figure 2: Ap Index 1984 – 2012

Three years into Solar Cycle 24, the Ap Index has now risen to the level of previous minima.

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Figure 3: Solar Wind Flow Pressure 1971 – 2012

Figure 3 shows that solar wind flow pressure has returned to levels prevailing over most of Solar Cycle 23.

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Figure 4: Solar Cycle 20 compared to Solar Cycle 24

The last time the planet had a discernible cooling period was in the 1970s, associated with Solar Cycle 20. This figure was developed to compare the Ap index and neutron count of Solar Cycle 24 with Solar Cycle 20. In Solar Cycle 20, the Ap index diverged a long way from the neutron count.

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Figure 5: Interplanetary Magnetic Field 1968 – 2012

Similar to the Ap Index, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field is now up to the levels of previous solar minima.

(note this figure has been corrected from the original, thanks to Dr. Leif Svalgaard)

Figure 6: Solar Cycle 24 Sunspot Number compared to the Dalton Minimum

This chart compares the development of Solar Cycle 24 with the last de Vries cycle event – the Dalton Minimum. The Solar Cycle 24 ramp up in terms of sunspot number is tracking much the same as that of Solar Cycle 5 but about a year ahead of it.

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Figure 7: Aligned neutron count by solar cycle

In this figure, the neutron count of the last five solar cycles is aligned on month of minimum. It shows that Solar Cycle 24 hasn’t departed much from where Solar Cycle 23 was at the same time. On the other hand, the neutron count could go sideways from here.

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Figure 8: Predicting year of Solar Cycle 25 maximum

It is estimated that Solar Cycle 24 maximum will be centred on May 2013 and using Altrock’s green corona emissions diagram, we can derive the year of the 24/25 minimum as 2026. This means that the fall time for Solar Cycle 24 will be 13 years. For all the numbered solar cycles, plotting fall time from the maximum against the maximum to maximum time enables us to make an estimate of the year of Solar Cycle 25 maximum. From Figure 8, the Solar Cycle 25 maximum will be 19 years after the Solar Cycle 24 maximum in 2013, which makes it 2032.

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Figure 9: Solar Cycles 1749 – 2040

The large decline in the sunspot number and F 10.7 flux at the beginning of the year, prior to the recent major flare, suggests that Solar Cycle 24 will look like Solar Cycle 5 in having a low base of activity with periodic spikes. The estimate of 7 for the peak of Solar Cycle 25 is from Livingston and Penn.

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R Barker

Very interesting post. Considering the performance of the experts just a few years back in predicting the beginning of cycle 24, how confident can anyone be of the size and shape of the end of 24 and the start of 25?

Tony McGough

Much of this was over my head … but the prediction for Cycle 25 is brave and eyecatching.
Stock up on winter woolies.

Paul Vaughan

My interpretation of what many WUWT commenters seem to be thinking these days: Linear extrapolation of “L&P” = global terrestrial temperatures go down.
Not saying I agree or share conception, but I do have a question for those who may be thinking this way (NOT for those who are NOT thinking this way): How do you suggest time of terrestrial year fits into this “model”?

Paul Vaughan says:
March 15, 2012 at 4:39 am
> Not saying I agree or share conception,
Glad to get past that!

Kasuha

I kinda don’t trust the forecasts made in the last two figures. Cycle 23 is quite on the edge and cycle 24 seems to be way out of known territory and I don’t think it is appropriate to expect the system will continue behaving linearly with such stretched parameters.

Figure 6 is not correct. Cycle 5 did not begin in 1796, but in 1798 or 1799:
http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Activity-1785-1810.png

What happened to the Ed Fix model?

SAMURAI

From my understanding, the plumetting umbral magnetic field is what is so disconcerting about solar cycle 25. It’s normally averages around 3,000 gauss and it’s already fallen to below 2,000 and continues to fall at 70 gauss per year. When it falls below 1500 gauss, there is insufficient magnetic force to hold sunspots together, so they virtually disappear altogether.
It’s now projected that the umbral magnetic field is currently projected to fall below 1500 gauss towards the end of solar cycle 24 around 2018, which I assume is why solar cycle 25 is projected to be so weak.
If all this does happen, at least we’ll have the perfect opportunity to verify the Svensmark Effect on a global scale rather than in some small cloud chamber at CERN….

meemoe_uk

Leif Svalgaard says: Figure 6 is not correct.
But apart from that David’s post is correct? Usually you have a bit more to say about his posts.

Robert of Ottawa

I’d like a little clarification here: What is the soure of the neutron count? the interplanetary magnetic field?
Also, regarding the solar cyhcle 25 prediction, I will still be alive in 2032 so I will hold you to account.

meemoe_uk says:
March 15, 2012 at 6:27 am
But apart from that David’s post is correct? Usually you have a bit more to say about his posts.
Well, because of his error, it is also not correct to say that SC24 is a year ahead of SC5. Finally, SC5 data is very uncertain to something like a factor of two, so any detailed comparison is meaningless. Wolf’s original data for SC5 had a much larger cycle, but his successor Wolfer, in 1902 reduced the sunspot number significantly for SC5. In any case, the data for SC5 is not very reliable.

jlurtz

Questions:
1) How does the neutron count compare to the recent Sunspot Cycles? In sync, out of sync?
2) Why is the neutron count in sync or out of sync? What, where in the Sun drives these counts?

sean2829

I follow what Leif Svalgaard posts over at SolarHam.com. A few weeks ago on the discussion board he spoke about the L&P effect and if it caused the week solar cycles of the Dalton minimum. The answer was quite interesting. No the Dalton minimum was probably not caused by the L&P effect but it was likely a factor in the Maunder minimum. Does that give us a hint at where Leif thinks the sun is headed?

Mike McMillan

Robert of Ottawa says:March 15, 2012 at 6:38 am
I’d like a little clarification here: What is the soure of the neutron count? the interplanetary magnetic field?

The neutrons are made when galactic cosmic rays hit the atmosphere and generate a shower of particles, so the neutron count is a measure of cosmic ray activity, which in turn is an inverse measure of the solar wind, which tends to sweep cosmic rays away from us. At least that’s my take on it.

Leo Morgan

Help me out here.
I can’t be the only reader who doesn’t know what Ap index stands for, or what it’s significance is. Of course I googled to find it and searched Wikipedia, back when you previously used the term, but I admit I failed.
Actually can I ask you to do a thumbbnamil description of each of the headings you use, explaining the terms and the significance of the data? Without being an idiot, I am nevertheless clearly profoundly ignorant in this are.

John Finn

meemoe_uk says:
March 15, 2012 at 6:27 am
Leif Svalgaard says: Figure 6 is not correct.
But apart from that David’s post is correct? Usually you have a bit more to say about his posts

David’s post contains it’s usual incorrect assertions. For example, he says

The last time the planet had a discernible cooling period was in the 1970s, associated with Solar Cycle 20.
There was no cooling in the 1970s. The 1970s saw the onset of WARMING. There was a cooling period which began in the 1940s, but this was 20 years before the start of Solar Cycle 20 so it’s difficult to see how this can be associated with the cooling.
Perhaps you can explain this as David seems reluctant to do so.

John Finn

RE: my post above. This bit is my comment – not David’s
There was no cooling in the 1970s. The 1970s saw the onset of WARMING. There was a cooling period which began in the 1940s, but this was 20 years before the start of Solar Cycle 20 so it’s difficult to see how this can be associated with the cooling.
Perhaps you can explain this as David seems reluctant to do so.

John Finn says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:08 am
There was no cooling in the 1970s. The 1970s saw the onset of WARMING. There was a cooling period which began in the 1940s, but this was 20 years before the start of Solar Cycle 20
It seems ground hog day is with us again John. I have pointed out to you several times that solar cycles alone are not enough to explain climate shifts. Once again think of the PDO.

Edim

John Finn says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:08 am
“There was no cooling in the 1970s. The 1970s saw the onset of WARMING.”
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/heat_content55-07.png

David Archibald

Well spotted Dr Svalgaard. It is an obvious mistake. I have sent a corrected version to Anthony which he might use to replace the deficient one. The corrected version looks exactly like Solar Cycle 5.
Geoff Sharp says:
March 15, 2012 at 6:00 am
My take on the Ed Fix model is that in times like these, the Sun hits Hilary Clinton’s reset button. All the momentum gets washed out and the magnetic poles may not reverse at maximum. Ed Fix’s model remains the best model going and others can now build on what he achieved. I am very happy that I helped to get Ed’s paper published.
If we go back five years, I was saying at the time that we are not seeing any spotless days – Solar Cycle 23 is going to be longer that what NASA thinks. A similar situation exists today. Altrock’s green corona emissions diagram suggests that the path of a sunspot cycle is set at its inception at solar maximum of the previous cycle. As Altrock himself said, Solar Cycle 25 is 40% slower than the previous two cycles. So, if it continues its straight line move and does not bend towards the equator and speed up, the 24/25 minimum will be in 2026. NASA’s diagram has it in 2020. Solar Cycle 24 is starting out like Solar Cycle 5 but will have a very much longer fall time. I believe I am right on this and NASA will spend years playing catch up, as they have done with their estimate of Solar Cycle 24 amplitude. This cycle is not like anything we have seen for 400 years.
What is new in this post is the estimate of year of Solar Cycle 25 maximum. It will be true if the relationship it is based on does not change during this minimum.
It would be good to get an update on the state of the Sun’s UV flux and where the thermosphere is at. The Earth’s atmosphere shrank 25% at the beginning of the 23/24 minimum.

Don B

To repeat my question asked in comments at yesterday’s solar post,
Have there been any changes in the day-night temperature differences as a result of the current Forbush decrease? (Possibly supporting the Svensmark hypothesis.)
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/11/new-paper-links-cosmic-rays-clouds-and-temperature/

Samauri writes “If all this does happen, at least we’ll have the perfect opportunity to verify the Svensmark Effect on a global scale rather than in some small cloud chamber at CERN….”
I realise this is off topic, but let me hang a question of this comment. There was a recent Forbush Decrease of 15%. What effect did this have on clouds? Has Svensmark’s idea been tested by this event? I have asked in many places, and have not got an answer. Anyone know?

I’m not selling the fleece-lined Drizabone I bought in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) during one cold winter that I was staying there.

Jim G

Robert of Ottawa says:
March 15, 2012 at 6:38 am
“I’d like a little clarification here: What is the soure of the neutron count? the interplanetary magnetic field?
Also, regarding the solar cyhcle 25 prediction, I will still be alive in 2032 so I will hold you to account.”
Your prediction regarding being alive in 2032 is the single boldest prediction I have seen on any of the posts on WUWT so far. I hope you are correct.

David Archibald says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:25 am
Well spotted Dr Svalgaard. It is an obvious mistake. I have sent a corrected version to Anthony which he might use to replace the deficient one. The corrected version looks exactly like Solar Cycle 5.
Which lasted only 12 years…

Skeptic Tank

Robert of Ottawa says:
…, I will still be alive in 2032 so I will hold you to account.

Do you know something the rest of us don’t? Like, … I dunno, … the next 20 Super Bowl winners?

Jim Cripwell says: March 15, 2012 at 8:41 am
………………
Neither side is too keen to find out; no news is good news.

Mike LaPointe

While looking for more information on Altrock’s green corona diagram, I found that Peter Martinson interviewed Dr. Richard Altrock, of the Air Force Research Laboratory, back on December 7, 2011 at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco. In the video interview (10-12 minute mark), Dr Altrock states solar maximum occurring now (end of 2011), much sooner than his previous estimate.
Link: http://larouchepac.com/node/21412 (Warning: This is Lyndon LaRouche’s Political Action Committee website)

Veritas

@Leo Morgan,
Check out this paper to understand solar indices. Ap and Kp measure geomagnetic activity.
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/0209038.pdf

William Astley

In reply to:
Dr. Lurtz says:
March 15, 2012 at 7:18 am
Questions:
1) How does the neutron count compare to the recent Sunspot Cycles? In sync, out of sync?
2) Why is the neutron count in sync or out of sync? What, where in the Sun drives these counts?
The neutrons are created by galactic cosmic rays (GCR, high speed protons mostly) that strike that earth’s upper atmosphere creating muons. The intensity and the energy of the GCR are modulated by the solar heliosphere. The extent and the magnetic composition of the solar heliosphere determines how effective it is at deflecting and slowing down the high speed protons (GCR).
The neutron count is high when the solar magnetic cycle is weak and the solar heliosphere is weak.
The GCR creates muons in the upper atmosphere. The muons travel through the atmosphere creating cloud forming ions.
Whether there is or is not an increase in planetary cloud is dependent on other mechanisms also. For example solar wind bursts create a space charge differential in the ionosphere which removes ions (electroscavenging). The past two solar cycles had an increase in solar wind bursts late in the solar cycle which removes ions and result in a reduction in planetary clouds based on satellite measurement on planetary cloud cover.

Casper

@ Mike LaPointe
Thank you for the link. It was interesting to hear this interview. I think Richard Altrock, L&P are reporting on the same thing which could lead to MM.

David Archibald says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:25 am
My take on the Ed Fix model is that in times like these, the Sun hits Hilary Clinton’s reset button. All the momentum gets washed out and the magnetic poles may not reverse at maximum. Ed Fix’s model remains the best model going and others can now build on what he achieved.
Indeed the Hale cycle could be broken during SC24, but using a model that needs to be reset because it goes out of phase quickly is not good. Ed’s mistake is trying to use the SIM function as a solar cycle length predictor instead of a basic background engine. Carl’s AM graph needs no reset and hindcasts over the Holocene with all grand minimum strengths included.
I seem to remember the Fix forecast for SC25 was very short?

Bill Jamison

It’ll be fascinating to see if the predictions for Cycle 24 are any more accurate than the failed predictions of current cycle were. I wonder if we’ll ever really understand the sun well enough to accurately model future behavior.
I’m not confident that we will.

John Finn

Geoff Sharp says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:20 am
John Finn says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:08 am
There was no cooling in the 1970s. The 1970s saw the onset of WARMING. There was a cooling period which began in the 1940s, but this was 20 years before the start of Solar Cycle 20
It seems ground hog day is with us again John. I have pointed out to you several times that solar cycles alone are not enough to explain climate shifts. Once again think of the PDO

It seems you agree with me then that David’s statement is flawed. The cooling had nothing to do with solar cycle 20. In fact the cooling began just a few years before the strongest cycle ever recorded.
Edim says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:25 am
John Finn says:
March 15, 2012 at 8:08 am
“There was no cooling in the 1970s. The 1970s saw the onset of WARMING.”
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/heat_content55-07.png

Like I said there was NO cooling in the 1970s.

SAMURAI

There certainly was global cooling from 1940 to 1978 and cooling from 1970 to 1978.
There was substantial warming from 1979 to 1998, but again, the Earth is in another cooling phase from 1998 to the present. The coming solar minimum which now seems highly probable to be the weakest since the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), it’s high time to take a step back and see how this next solar minimum plays out.
If solar cycle 25 leads to further cooling, then it’s obvious that Dr. Svensmark got it right and painfully obvious the warmunists got it completely wrong, as the warmunists say any solar minimum will be overwhelmed by CO2 induced global warming, which now seems unlikely.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/to:1978/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/to:1978/trend

John Finn says:
March 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm
It seems you agree with me then that David’s statement is flawed. The cooling had nothing to do with solar cycle 20
It would be more accurate to state that low solar activity during SC20 added to the cooling in general brought about by a mainly neg PDO during the 70’s. Of interest is why there was a reasonably low cycle at SC20. AMP theory shows a weak disruption right at SC20 with the previous disruption occurring in the 1800’s.
http://tinyurl.com/2dg9u22/images/sunssbam1620to2180gs.jpg

David Archibald

Geoff Sharp says:
March 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm
Every hundred years or so Ed’ model output needs manual reversing to keep it in phase with reality. It is not a bug because it is probably telling us about something that is happening in the Sun. Please email me a link to Carl’s AM graph: david.archibald @ westnet.com.au

David, your figure 6 graph showing the comparison between SC5 (GSN?) and SC24 would look better if you discounted the SC24 values by 22% to allow for the Waldmeier factor. Or you could use the Layman’s count comparison and get something similar.
http://tinyurl.com/2dg9u22/images/sc5_sc24.png
Our graphs seem to be at odds concerning timing, I started SC24 at Jan 2008 and SC5 at Jan 1798.

John Finn

Geoff Sharp says:
March 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm
John Finn says:
March 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm
It seems you agree with me then that David’s statement is flawed. The cooling had nothing to do with solar cycle 20
It would be more accurate to state that low solar activity during SC20 added to the cooling …

I’m not sure it would be accurate to say that, Geoff. Solar Cycle 20 ran from 1964 until 1976.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1964/to:1976/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1964/to:1976/trend
See – no cooling. It’s the same story if you use Edim’s OHC data, i.e.
http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/heat_content55-07.png
SAMURAI says:
March 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm
There certainly was global cooling from 1940 to 1978 and cooling from 1970 to 1978.

See above – no cooling during solar Cycle 20.
There was substantial warming from 1979 to 1998, but again, the Earth is in another cooling phase from 1998 to the present.
No cooling since 1998 (even using the ‘preferred’ HadCrut data)
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1998/to:2011/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1998/to:2011/trend
Any short term lack of warming (not cooling) can be explained by the timing of ENSO events.

Geoff Sharp says:
March 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm
Every hundred years or so Ed’ model output needs manual reversing to keep it in phase with reality.
We know from the geomagnetic record that the solar polar fields have reverse normally ever since the 1840s.

John Finn says:
March 16, 2012 at 3:47 am
I’m not sure it would be accurate to say that, Geoff. Solar Cycle 20 ran from 1964 until 1976.
I think you might be cherry picking John. The standard GISS record which I am not a fan of shows quite a different picture.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.gif
The cooling period from 1940 to the 1970’s is a combination of cool ocean cycles and a quite sun of SC20, there may also be some global dimming mixed into the equation over that period, but trying to isolate pure solar influence is just pure IPCC talk.

John Finn

Geoff Sharp says:
March 16, 2012 at 7:02 am
John Finn says:
March 16, 2012 at 3:47 am
I think you might be cherry picking John. The standard GISS record which I am not a fan of shows quite a different picture.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.gif

I’m not cherrypicking at all, Geoff. The GISS record shows exactly the same as HadCrut over the same period (i.e. 1964-76). See
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1964/to:1976/plot/gistemp/from:1964/to:1976/trend
No Cooling over the entire duration of Solar Cycle 20. The cooling had already happened, Geoff. Solar Cycle 20 had nothing whatsoever to do with it. In fact, most of the cooling had already occurred by the early 1950s – possibly due to ocean cycles (as you mention).

John Finn says:
March 16, 2012 at 7:37 am
No Cooling over the entire duration of Solar Cycle 20. The cooling had already happened, Geoff. Solar Cycle 20 had nothing whatsoever to do with it. In fact, most of the cooling had already occurred by the early 1950s – possibly due to ocean cycles (as you mention).
Yes most of the cooling had happened from the PDO change, the PDO IMHO is the main driver of climate outside of major solar reductions as in grand minimum type events. SC20 was a minor solar reduction but still I think it had an influence on global temps. Our current weather patterns over the past few years show the power of solar reduction.

Leif Svalgaard says:
March 16, 2012 at 6:45 am
Geoff Sharp says:
March 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm
Every hundred years or so Ed’ model output needs manual reversing to keep it in phase with reality.
————————-
We know from the geomagnetic record that the solar polar fields have reverse normally ever since the 1840s.

I am not quite sure of your point, I personally dont think it is reasonable to reset a model because it goes out of sync with solar cycles. But we need a pole reversal record that spans a solar grand minimum, which I dont think we have.
Are you prepared to guarantee both poles will reverse at SC24 max?

Geoff Sharp says:
March 16, 2012 at 9:11 am
I personally dont think it is reasonable to reset a model because it goes out of sync with solar cycles.
I agree completely.
Are you prepared to guarantee both poles will reverse at SC24 max?
Absolutely. I’ll wager $500 on it. You game?

Doug Proctor

Cycles 23 to 24 to 25 as projected seem a little abnormal, a little “fast” on the decline. Just the sniff test, of course. The pattern is beyond Dalton, which means that the Maunder is what the model is. Even the drop to no sunspots isn’t enough without a model to say the no-spot period will be very, very long. Models …. where have we heard that.
Almost a counter-catastrophic global cooling theory. Saying that we are not in Hansen’s special times, but Archibald’s special times. Me, over the past 50 years, I’ve been though enough “special” times that I am jaded about the term. Moderately better or worse than recently, I’d go for. But extraordinary, no. With the global temp up as it is, a drop of 1.0C will make us into the world of somewhere in 1920 – 1940. That should be okay. I can work with that drop in mind. Only later, with the evidence, would I get into the 1820 or 1760 level.
Of course, if Hollywood could get on-board … Maunder Minimum: the Movie. Technical advisor D. Archibald.
If Hansen, Gore and Suzuki could make some millions, it would be nice if it were Archibald’s time.

David Archibald

Doug Proctor says:
March 16, 2012 at 10:21 am
It is a question of how far ahead you can see with confidence. Professor Solheim replicated my work on solar cycle length – temperature, so we know what the average temperature fall will be over Solar Cycle 24 with confidence – his papers’ figures all have error bars.
Altrock’s green corona emissions diagram tells us how long Solar Cycle 24 will be, so we know what the average temperature over Solar Cycle 25 will be. We still have 14 years to prepare for that. For that future not to happen, one would have to explain why it wouldn’t. Carbon dioxide’s contribution is lost in the noise of the climate system.
Thanks for your kind words re a special time, I am already enjoying myself. My last lecture in Washington is now online at: http://www.iwp.edu/news_publications/detail/mr-david-archibald-on-four-great-global-challenges

David Archibald says:
March 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm
Altrock’s green corona emissions diagram tells us how long Solar Cycle 24 will be, so we know what the average temperature over Solar Cycle 25 will be. We still have 14 years to prepare for that. For that future not to happen, one would have to explain why it wouldn’t.
Easy, simply because your two premises are so too shaky to base anything on.

Leif Svalgaard says:
March 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm
Absolutely. I’ll wager $500 on it. You game?
No not game, but happy to see you give up on the Babcock-Leighton model if the Hale cycle fails, as you have previously stated.

Werner Brozek

John Finn says:
March 16, 2012 at 3:47 am
No cooling since 1998 (even using the ‘preferred’ HadCrut data)

Hadcrut3 is flat since April 1997. And that is without the January 2012 reading of 0.218 that showed up and then disappeared for several days now.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.25/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.25/trend

Geoff Sharp says:
March 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm
No not game
put your money where your mouth is or shut up.
happy to see you give up on the Babcock-Leighton model if the Hale cycle fails, as you have previously stated.
what twisted nonsense is that? And Babcock-Leighton is also valid for Grand Minima. The solar cycle operated fine during the Maunder and Spoerer Minima.