Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 952–966 | Cite as

Parallel comparison of the northern winter stratospheric circulation in reanalysis and in CMIP5 models

  • Jian Rao
  • Rongcai Ren
  • Yang Yang


A parallel comparison is made of the circulation climatology and the leading oscillation mode of the northern winter stratosphere among six reanalysis products and 24 CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) models. The results reveal that the NCEP/NCAR, NECP/DOE, ERA40, ERA-Interim and JRA25 reanalyses are quite consistent in describing the climatology and annual cycle of the stratospheric circulation. The 20CR reanalysis, however, exhibits a remarkable “cold pole” bias accompanied by a much stronger stratospheric polar jet, similar as in some CMIP5 models. Compared to the 1–2 month seasonal drift in most coupled general circulation models (GCMs), the seasonal cycle of the stratospheric zonal wind in most earth system models (ESMs) agrees very well with reanalysis. Similar to the climatology, the amplitude of Polar Vortex Oscillation (PVO) events also varies among CMIP5 models. The PVO amplitude in most GCMs is relatively weaker than in reanalysis, while that in most of the ESMs is more realistic. In relation to the “cold pole” bias and the weaker oscillation in some CMIP5 GCMs, the frequency of PVO events is significantly underestimated by CMIP5 GCMs; while in most ESMs, it is comparable to that in reanalysis. The PVO events in reanalysis (except in 20CR) mainly occur from mid-winter to early spring (January–March); but in some of the CMIP5 models, a 1–2 month delay exists, especially in most of the CMIP5 GCMs. The long-term trend of the PVO time series does not correspond to long-term changes in the frequency of PVO events in most of the CMIP5 models.

Key words

CMIP5 northern winter stratospheric circulation Polar Vortex Oscillation 


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Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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