Projected Strengthening Impact of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation on the Southern Hemisphere by CMIP5/6 Models

Jian Rao, Chaim I. Garfinkel, Rongcai Ren, Tongwen Wu, Yixiong Lu, Min Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using 20 quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO)-resolving models from phases 5/6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5/6), this study examines the projected Southern Hemisphere (SH) extratropical response to the QBO. Nine of the 22 models simulate decelerated circumpolar westerlies during easterly QBO (EQBO) in the historical climate as is observed, though only;30% of the observed change is reproduced in the multimodel ensemble mean (MME) of these high-skill models. These high-skill models project an enhanced stratospheric QBO teleconnection for both emissions scenarios. Further, the stratospheric wind anomaly in high latitudes is projected to move to midlatitudes in future scenarios. The climatological subtropical jet is projected to strengthen, while tropical easterlies are projected to weaken. As a consequence, upward wave activity in the future appears to become more sensitive to the QBO phase. Enhanced upward propagation of waves in mid- to high latitudes during EQBO are much stronger in future scenarios than in historical simulations. The anomalous downwelling over the Antarctic, as part of the Brewer–Dobson deep branch response to EQBO, is also projected to strengthen, corresponding to increased warm anomalies. In future scenarios, the areal extent of the deep convective response to EQBO over the Maritime Continent widens and includes a sharper reduction in outgoing longwave radiation, albeit with southward expansion from Indonesia to Australia. The enhancement and spatial shift in the stratospheric polar vortex pathway and tropical convection pathway subsequently lead to changes in the tropospheric QBO signal. An annular mode–like response forms in the troposphere and near-surface in the present climate, whereas this pattern shifts farther equatorward in future projections with circulation anomalies in the tropical Indian Ocean amplifying.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5461-5476
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Model comparison
  • Quasibiennial oscillation
  • Stratospheric circulation
  • Tropical variability

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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