Simulation of the climate impact of Mt. Pinatubo eruption using ECHAM5 – Part 2: Sensitivity to the phase of the QBO
1Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
2Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Cambridge University, UK
3Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers-The State University of NJ, USA
Abstract. The QBO (quasi-biennial oscillation) is a quasi-periodic oscillation of the equatorial zonal wind between easterlies and westerlies in the tropical stratosphere with a mean period of 28 to 29 months. In this paper, the sensitivity of the impact of Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the tropics and extratropics to different QBO phases is investigated. Mt. Pinatubo erupted in June 1991 during the easterly phase of the QBO at 30 hPa and the phase change to westerly took place in August 1992. Here, the consequences are analyzed if the eruption had taken place in the opposite QBO phase. Hence, in this study simulations are carried out for two cases – one with the observed QBO phase as discussed in part-I of this paper and the other with the opposite QBO phase. The QBO signature in the lower stratospheric temperature is well captured in the pure QBO responses and in the combined (aerosol+ocean+QBO) responses. Our results also show that a deepening of the polar vortex is not simulated during the first winters, but is seen during the second winters irrespective of the QBO phases in the pure QBO responses. However, a strong polar vortex is observed in the second winter when the QBO is in its westerly phase in the combined (aerosol+ocean+QBO) response in agreement with previous studies.