Climate Dynamics

, Volume 34, Issue 2–3, pp 399–417 | Cite as

Impact of stratospheric variability on tropospheric climate change

  • Mauro Dall’AmicoEmail author
  • Peter A. Stott
  • Adam A. Scaife
  • Lesley J. Gray
  • Karen H. Rosenlof
  • Alexey Yu. Karpechko


An improved stratospheric representation has been included in simulations with the Hadley Centre HadGEM1 coupled ocean atmosphere model with natural and anthropogenic forcings for the period 1979–2003. An improved stratospheric ozone dataset is employed that includes natural variations in ozone as well as the usual anthropogenic trends. In addition, in a second set of simulations the quasi biennial oscillation (QBO) of stratospheric equatorial zonal wind is also imposed using a relaxation towards ERA-40 zonal wind values. The resulting impact on tropospheric variability and trends is described. We show that the modelled cooling rate at the tropopause is enhanced by the improved ozone dataset and this improvement is even more marked when the QBO is also included. The same applies to warming trends in the upper tropical troposphere which are slightly reduced. Our stratospheric improvements produce a significant increase of internal variability but no change in the positive trend of annual mean global mean near-surface temperature. Warming rates are increased significantly over a large portion of the Arctic Ocean. The improved stratospheric representation, especially the QBO relaxation, causes a substantial reduction in near-surface temperature and precipitation response to the El Chichón eruption, especially in the tropical region. The winter increase in the phase of the northern annular mode observed in the aftermath of the two major recent volcanic eruptions is partly captured, especially after the El Chichón eruption. The positive trend in the southern annular mode (SAM) is increased and becomes statistically significant which demonstrates that the observed increase in the SAM is largely subject to internal variability in the stratosphere. The possible inclusion in simulations for future assessments of full ozone chemistry and a gravity wave scheme to internally generate a QBO is discussed.


Simulations of recent climate with natural and anthropogenic forcings assessed by the IPCC 2007 AR4 Observed ozone distributions Quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) of stratospheric equatorial zonal wind Variability and trends at the tropopause and in the troposphere Response to the volcanic eruptions of El Chichón and Mt. Pinatubo 



Funding was provided by the UK National Environment Research Council. Peter Stott and Adam Scaife were supported by the Joint DECC, Defra and MoD Integrated Climate Programme—DECC/Defra (GA01101), MoD (CBC/2B/0417_Annex C5). We wish to thank Keith Shine, Terry Davies, Jason Lowe, Gareth Jones, Scott Osprey, Warwick Norton, Jonathan Gregory, Oliver Browne, Gareth Marshall, Michael Ponater, Robert Sausen and Veronika Eyring for their help in acquiring and processing data, their illuminating suggestions and their support. We also wish to thank all those people at the UK Met Office and various UK Universities who contributed throughout the years to the development of the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model and ancillary datasets.


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Copyright information

© Crown Copyright 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mauro Dall’Amico
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Peter A. Stott
    • 3
  • Adam A. Scaife
    • 3
  • Lesley J. Gray
    • 1
  • Karen H. Rosenlof
    • 4
  • Alexey Yu. Karpechko
    • 5
  1. 1.NCAS ClimateUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und RaumfahrtInstitut für Physik der AtmosphäreOberpfaffenhofenGermany
  3. 3.Met Office Hadley CentreExeterUK
  4. 4.NOAA Earth System Research LaboratoryBoulderUSA
  5. 5.Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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