Influence of the Annual Cycle in Meridional Transport on the Quasi-biennial Oscillation in Total Ozone

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

The equatorial stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in zonal wind and temperature is observed to be symmetric about the equator. The QBO in column ozone, although it is believed to be caused primarily by vertical displacements due to the meridional circulation associated with the equatorial temperature QBO, is asymmetric with respect to the equator, and is strongly linked to the phase of the annual cycle. In this note a simple one-layer model is used to demonstrate that the gross features of the observed QBO in total ozone can be attributed to meridional advection of the ozone perturbation by the annually reversing mean meridional Hadley circulation. This advection causes a displacement of the equatorial ozone anomaly towards the winter hemisphere, and thus products an asymmetry with respect to the equator. It also modulates the amplitude of the ozone QBO, since the phase of the equatorial wind QBO with respect to the annual cycle may produce either constructive or destructive interference between the effects of the annually reversing meridional transport and the vertical advection by the equatorial wind QBO.

Abstract

The equatorial stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in zonal wind and temperature is observed to be symmetric about the equator. The QBO in column ozone, although it is believed to be caused primarily by vertical displacements due to the meridional circulation associated with the equatorial temperature QBO, is asymmetric with respect to the equator, and is strongly linked to the phase of the annual cycle. In this note a simple one-layer model is used to demonstrate that the gross features of the observed QBO in total ozone can be attributed to meridional advection of the ozone perturbation by the annually reversing mean meridional Hadley circulation. This advection causes a displacement of the equatorial ozone anomaly towards the winter hemisphere, and thus products an asymmetry with respect to the equator. It also modulates the amplitude of the ozone QBO, since the phase of the equatorial wind QBO with respect to the annual cycle may produce either constructive or destructive interference between the effects of the annually reversing meridional transport and the vertical advection by the equatorial wind QBO.

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