QBO/solar modulation of the boreal winter Madden-Julian oscillation: A prediction for the coming solar minimum

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18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), also known as the 30–60 day oscillation, is the strongest of the intraseasonal climate oscillations in the tropics and has significant derivative effects on extratropical circulation and intraseasonal climate. It has recently been shown that the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) modulates the amplitude of the boreal winter MJO such that MJO amplitudes are larger on average during the easterly phase (QBOE) than during the westerly phase (QBOW). A major possible mechanism is the decrease in static stability in the lowermost stratosphere under QBOE conditions resulting from relative upwelling associated with the QBO-induced meridional circulation. Here evidence is presented that tropical upwelling changes related to the 11 year solar cycle also modulate the boreal winter MJO. Based on 37.3 years of MJO amplitude data, the largest amplitudes and occurrence rates, and the weakest static stabilities in the tropical lower stratosphere, occur during the QBOE phase under solar minimum (SMIN) conditions while the smallest amplitudes and strongest static stabilities occur during the QBOW phase under solar maximum (SMAX) conditions. Conversely, when the QBO and solar forcings are opposed (QBOW/SMIN and QBOE/SMAX), the difference in occurrence rates becomes statistically insignificant. During the coming solar minimum, at least one additional winter in the QBOE/SMIN category should occur (possibly as early as 2017/2018) during which especially large MJO amplitudes are expected and an initial test of these results will be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3849-3857
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2017

Keywords

  • intraseasonal climate
  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • northern winter
  • quasi-biennial oscillation
  • solar variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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