Possible solar modulation of the equatorial quasi-biennial oscillation: Additional statistical evidence

Boris E. Soukharev, Lon L. Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Although the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in the equatorial zonal wind is dominantly driven by wave forcing originating in the troposphere, a recent study suggests that certain properties of the QBO may vary slightly on the 11-year solar cycle timescale [Salby and Callaghan, 2000]. Here we report further statistical investigation using both equatorial wind data for levels from 50 to 1 hPa and long-term proxy solar ultraviolet flux time series (10.7-cm solar radio flux and sunspot numbers). Spectral analysis of the solar time series yields evidence for a significant spectral peak at periods between 25 and 30 months, approximately equivalent to the mean QBO period, as had also been noted by earlier authors [Shapiro and Ward, 1962]. Cross-spectral analysis of the 10.7-cm solar radio flux and equatorial zonal wind time series shows significant coherency at the QBO period at all available pressure levels. The phase lag of the wind data relative to the solar flux at the QBO period ranges from 0-1 months near the stratopause (1 hPa) to 20-24 months in the lower stratosphere (50 hPa). The nearly inphase relationship near the stratopause suggests a possible modulation of the QBO at this level by the radiative and photochemical effects of solar ultraviolet variations. The amplitudes of the solar variations at the QBO period tend to be larger under solar maximum than under solar minimum conditions. Composite analysis of the westerly and easterly phases of the equatorial zonal wind shows subtle but consistent differences in the durations of the westerlies and easterlies between solar maximum and minimum conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2001JD900095
Pages (from-to)14855-14868
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD14
StatePublished - Jul 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Possible solar modulation of the equatorial quasi-biennial oscillation: Additional statistical evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this