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Connection of the stratospheric QBO with global atmospheric general circulation and tropical SST. Part II: interdecadal variations

Abstract

The interdecadal variation of the association of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) with tropical sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (SSTA) and with the general circulation in the troposphere and lower stratosphere is examined using the ERA40 and NCEP/NCAR reanalyses, as well as other observation-based analyses. It is found that the relationship between the QBO and tropical SSTA changed once around 1978–1980, and again in 1993–1995. During 1966–1974, negative correlation between the QBO and NINO3.4 indices reached its maximum when the NINO3.4 index lagged the QBO by less than 6 months. Correspondingly, the positive correlations were observed when the NINO3.4 index led the QBO by about 11–13 months or lagged by about 12–18 months. However, maximum negative correlations were shifted from the NINO3.4 index lagging the QBO by about 0–6 months during 1966–1974 to about 3–12 months during 1985–1992. During 1975–1979, both the negative and positive correlations were relatively small and the QBO and ENSO were practically unrelated to each other. The phase-based QBO life cycle composites also confirm that, on average, there are two phase (6–7 months) delay in the evolution of the QBO-associated anomalous Walker circulation, tropical SST, atmospheric stability, and troposphere and lower stratosphere temperature anomalies during 1980–1994 in comparison with those in 1957–1978. The interdecadal variation of the association between the QBO and the troposphere variability may be largely due to the characteristic change of El Niño-Southern Oscillation. The irregularity of the QBO may play a secondary role in the interdecadal variation of the association.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks go to James M. Wallace, Shuntai Zhou, Amy Butler, Michelle L’Heureux, Cristiana Stan, Xiaosong Yang, and Jian Lu for their useful discussion and suggestions. This work was supported by the NOAA CVP Program (NA07OAR4310310) (Hu and Huang), as well as NSF ATM-0830062 (Huang and Kinter), NSF ATM-0830068, NOAA NA09OAR4310058, NASA NNX09AN50G (Hu, Huang, and Kinter), and NSF ATM-0917743 (Wu).

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Correspondence to Zeng-Zhen Hu.

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Hu, ZZ., Huang, B., Kinter, J.L. et al. Connection of the stratospheric QBO with global atmospheric general circulation and tropical SST. Part II: interdecadal variations. Clim Dyn 38, 25–43 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-011-1073-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-011-1073-6

Keywords

  • Stratospheric QBO
  • Tropical Pacific SST
  • Interdecadal variation
  • Walker circulation
  • Tropical deep convection
  • ERA40 and NCEP/NCAR reanalyses
  • ENSO