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Title: Tropical stratosphere variability and extratropical teleconnections
Author: Schenzinger, Verena
ISNI:       0000 0004 6493 9877
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) is the dominant pattern of variability in the tropical stratosphere. Despite a well established theory regarding its generation in the atmosphere, the simulation in global climate models remains difficult. A set of metrics assessing the quality of model simulations is presented in this study. The QBO simulations in models submitted to the CMIP5 and CCMVal-2 intercomparison projects are characterised and compared to radiosonde observations and reanalysis datasets. Common model biases and their potential causes are addressed. As the QBO has a long intrinsic period, knowing its influences on other parts of the climate system can be used to improve long range forecasts. These teleconnections of the QBO in observations are investigated using composite analysis, multilinear regression and a novel approach called causal effect networks (CEN). Findings from these analyses confirm previous results of the QBO modulating the stratospheric polar vortex and subsequently the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). They also suggest that it is important to take the equatorial zonal mean zonal wind vertical profile into account when studying teleconnections, rather than the more traditional method of using just one single level. While QBO influences on the Northern Hemisphere winter polar vortex and the NAO are more clearly established, interactions within the tropics remain inconclusive. Regression analysis does not show a connection between the QBO and the MJO, whereas the CEN analysis does. Further studies are needed to understand the interaction mechanisms near the equator. Finally, following the unprecedented disruption of the QBO cycle in the winter 2015/16, the event is described and a model analogue from the MPI-ESM-MR historical simulation is presented. Future implications are unclear, although model projections indicate more frequent QBO irregularities in a warming climate.
Supervisor: Gray, Lesley ; Osprey, Scott Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atmosphere ; Atmospheric Models ; Middle Atmosphere ; QBO ; Teleconnections ; Stratosphere ; Holton-Tan effect ; Climate models