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On the Emerging Relationship Between the Stratospheric Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation

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Journal Article - Open Access

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Colorado State University Fort Collins United States

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A strong relationship between the quasi-biennial oscillation QBO of equatorial stratospheric winds and the amplitude of the Madden-Julian oscillation MJO during the boreal winter has recently been uncovered using observational data from the mid-1970s to the present. When the QBO is in its easterly phase in the lower stratosphere, it favors stronger MJO activity during boreal winter, while the MJO tends to be weaker during the westerly phase of the QBO. Here we show using reconstructed indices of the MJO and QBO back to 1905 that the relationship between enhanced boreal winter MJO activity and the easterly phase of the QBO has only emerged since the early 1980s. The emergence ofthis relationship coincides with the recent cooling trend in the equatorial lower stratosphere and the warming trend in the equatorial upper troposphere, which appears to have sensitized MJO convective activity to QBO-induced changes in static stability near the tropopause. Climate change is thus suggested to have played a role in promoting coupling between the MJO and the QBO.

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  • Meteorology
  • Atmospheric Physics

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