Southern Hemisphere Response to the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation in the CMIP5/6 Models

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Using 25 quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO)-resolving models from phases 5 and 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5/6), this study systematically explores the Southern Hemisphere (SH) extratropical response to the QBO. The observed maximum stratospheric polar vortex–weakening response to the 20-hPa easterly QBO appears in the austral spring, which is reproduced qualitatively by seven models. The Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux convergence associated with enhanced upward propagation of waves from the SH midlatitude troposphere is also reasonably simulated following easterly QBO in these seven models. The Brewer–Dobson (BD) circulation response, especially its deep branch, has a large bias among models. The anomalous upwelling of the deep branch of the BD circulation and the cold anomalies are confined to midlatitudes above 20 hPa in reanalyses, while this deep branch is simulated to expand to the Antarctic stratosphere with unrealistically cold anomalies for some models. Models with a decent stratospheric pathway tend to simulate the observed negative Southern Annular Mode (SAM)-like response in the troposphere. Further, the largest enhanced convection center is observed over the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean and simulated by 12 models, most of which also simulate a more reasonable height anomaly pattern in the troposphere. The near-surface response to the QBO also resembles the SAM pattern with warm anomalies over eastern Antarctic, which are simulated by only five models. Seven models simulate the observed wet signals in the midlatitude southern Indo-Pacific Ocean, where an anomalous low develops. Overall, models with a better reproduction of the SH stratospheric polar vortex response exhibit a more reasonable near-surface response, though for all models the response is too weak.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2603-2623
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2023

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© 2023 American Meteorological Society.


  • Quasibiennial oscillation
  • Southern Hemisphere
  • Stratosphere-troposphere coupling


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