Influences of ENSO on Stratospheric Variability, and the Descent of Stratospheric Perturbations into the Lower Troposphere
Abstract The linkage between El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) through the stratospheric pathway is examined using a global coupled climate model (CM3), with increased vertical resolution and extent in the stratosphere as compared to an earlier model (CM2). It is demonstrated that the relationship between ENSO and NAO is stronger in CM3 than in CM2. It is found that ENSO plays an important role in modulating the frequency of occurrence of the stratospheric polar vortex anomalies through enhancing/attenuation the amplitudes of zonal wavenumbers 1 and 2, especially in late winter. A higher frequency of weak (strong) stratospheric vortex events is simulated in CM3 during El Niño (La Niña) episodes. The weak vortex events during El Niño winters are preceded by enhancement of the zonal wave-1 pattern, and weakening of zonal wave-2 pattern. These modified tropospheric planetary waves propagate upward, and then weaken the stratospheric polar vortex through eddy-mean flow interaction. The zonal-mean geopential response in the stratosphere propagate downward and weaken the polar vortex throughout the troposphere. The effects of planetary wave refraction in the upper troposphere on the zonally averaged circulation cells in the tropospheric meridional plane, and the linkage between the lower branches of these cells and the near surface wind patterns, play an important role in the flow pattern over the region corresponding to the southern lobe of the NAO. Specifically, a negative annular mode and NAO response is discernible in weak stratospheric vortex events during El Niño. Conversely, the positive annular mode and NAO is evident in strong vortex events during La Niña.