Response of the Antarctic stratosphere to warm pool El Niño Events in the GEOS CCM
1NASA Postdoctoral Program, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
2Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center (GEST), University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
4Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), University of Maryland, \newline College Park, MD, USA
5Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, MD, USA
Abstract. A new formulation of the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry-Climate Model, Version 2 (GEOS V2 CCM), with an improved general circulation model and an internally generated quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), is used to investigate the response of the Antarctic stratosphere to (1) warm pool El Niño (WPEN) events and (2) the sensitivity of this response to the phase of the QBO. Two 50-yr time-slice simulations are forced by repeating annual cycles of sea surface temperatures and sea ice concentrations composited from observed WPEN and neutral ENSO (ENSON) events. In these simulations, greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance concentrations represent the present-day climate. The modelled responses to WPEN, and to the phase of the QBO during WPEN, are compared with NASA's Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) reanalysis.
WPEN events enhance poleward planetary wave activity in the central South Pacific during austral spring, leading to relative warming of the Antarctic lower stratosphere in November/December. During the easterly phase of the QBO (QBO-E), the GEOS V2 CCM reproduces the observed 3–5 K warming of the polar region at 50 hPa, in the WPEN simulation relative to ENSON.
In the recent past, the response to WPEN events was sensitive to the phase of the QBO: the enhancement in planetary wave driving and the lower stratospheric warming signal were mainly associated with WPEN events coincident with QBO-E. In the GEOS V2 CCM, however, the Antarctic response to WPEN events is insensitive to the phase of the QBO: the modelled response is always easterly QBO-like. OLR, streamfunction and Rossby wave energy diagnostics are used to show that the modelled QBO does not extend far enough into the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere to modulate convection and thus planetary wave activity in the south central Pacific.