2017 Volume 13 Pages 53-58
A delayed response of the winter North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) to the 11-year solar cycle has been observed and modeled in recent studies. However, the mechanisms creating this 2-4-year delay to the solar cycle have still not been well-understood. This study examines the effects of the 11-year solar cycle and the resulting modulation in the strength of the winter stratospheric polar vortex. A coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model is used to simulate these effects by introducing a mechanistic forcing in the stratosphere. The intensified stratospheric polar vortex is shown to induce positive and negative ocean temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic Ocean. The positive ocean temperature anomaly migrated northward and was amplified when it approached an oceanic frontal zone approximately 3 years after the forcing became maximum. This delayed ocean response is similar to that observed. The result of this study supports a previous hypothesis that suggests that the 11-year solar cycle signals on the Earth's surface are produced through a downward penetration of the changes in the stratospheric circulation. Furthermore, the spatial structure of the signal is modulated by its interaction with the ocean circulation.