2015 Volume 93 Issue 1 Pages 99-115
This study investigates observed interannual changes in the Northern winter stratosphere with El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis data for 56 years. We focus on changes in occurrence of major stratospheric sudden warmings (MSSWs) as well as in seasonal mean states.
Our results reveal complex changes in the MSSW probability with both ENSO and QBO as in the seasonal mean states. However, statistically significant changes at the 90 % confidence level are obtained only for some combinations of ENSO and QBO conditions reflecting the limitation of the data period. When the QBO is in a westerly phase, the MSSW probability increases with the ENSO sea-surface temperature condition in the eastern equatorial Pacific, i.e., from ENSO cold (La Niña), through neutral, to warm (El Niño) years. When the QBO is in an easterly phase, on the other hand, the probability significantly increases for La Niña years than for neutral years, whereas the probability is not significantly different between neutral and El Niño years. A characteristic feature is the high MSSW probability for the La Niña and QBO easterly winters, which is consistent with strengthened stationary wave with zonal wavenumber 1 compared to the climatology.
These results suggest the importance of taking into account both ENSO and QBO factors, when one examines the frequency of MSSWs in the Northern winter stratosphere.