• Baldwin, M. P., and Coauthors, 2001: The quasi-biennial oscillation. Rev. Geophys., 39, 179229, https://doi.org/10.1029/1999RG000073.

  • Barton, C. A., and J. P. McCormack, 2017: Origin of the 2016 QBO disruption and its relationship to extreme El Niño events. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 11 15011 157, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075576.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coy, L., P. A. Newman, S. Pawson, L. R. Lait, L. Coy, P. A. Newman, S. Pawson, and L. R. Lait, 2017: Dynamics of the disrupted 2015/16 quasi-biennial oscillation. J. Climate, 30, 56615674, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0663.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunkerton, T. J., 2000: Inferences about QBO dynamics from the atmospheric “tape recorder” effect. J. Atmos. Sci., 57, 230246, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(2000)057<0230:IAQDFT>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunkerton, T. J., and D. P. Delisi, 1997: Interaction of the quasi-biennial oscillation and stratopause semiannual oscillation. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 26 10726 116, https://doi.org/10.1029/96JD03678.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gelaro, R., and Coauthors, 2017: The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). J. Climate, 30, 54195454, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0758.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GMAO, 2015a: MERRA-2 inst3_3d_asm_Np: 3D, 3-hourly, instantaneous, pressure-level, assimilation, assimilated meteorological fields, version 5.12.14. GES DISC, accessed 19 August 2020, https://doi.org/10.5067/QBZ6MG944HW0.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • GMAO, 2015b: MERRA-2 tavg3_3d_udt_Np: 3D, 3-hourly, time-averaged, pressure-level, assimilation, wind tendencies, version 5.12.4. GES DISC, accessed 19 August 2020, https://doi.org/10.5067/CWV0G3PPPWFW.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Holton, J. R., and R. S. Lindzen, 1972: An updated theory for the quasi-biennial cycle of the tropical stratosphere. J. Atmos. Sci., 29, 10761080, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1972)0291076:AUTFTQ>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, H., R. P. Kedzierski, and K. Matthes, 2019: On the forcings of the unusual QBO structure in February 2016. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 65416561, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-6541-2020.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lin, P., I. Held, and Y. Ming, 2019: The early development of the 2015/2016 quasi-biennial oscillation disruption. J. Atmos. Sci., 29, 821836, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-18-0292.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lindzen, R. S., and J. R. Holton, 1968: A theory of the quasi-biennial oscillation. J. Atmos. Sci., 25, 10951107, https://doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1977)0341847:TIOTIW>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Match, A., and S. Fueglistaler, 2019: The buffer zone of the quasi-biennial oscillation. J. Atmos. Sci., 76, 35533567, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-19-0151.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Match, A., and S. Fueglistaler, 2020: Mean flow damping forms the buffer zone of the quasi-biennial oscillation: 1D theory. J. Atmos. Sci., 77, 19551967, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-19-0293.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McIntyre, M. E., 1994: The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO): Some points about the terrestrial QBO and the possibility of related phenomena in the solar interior. The Solar Engine and Its Influence on Terrestrial Atmosphere and Climate, Springer, 293–320, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-79257-1_18.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Newman, P. A., L. Coy, S. Pawson, and L. R. Lait, 2016: The anomalous change in the QBO in 2015–2016. Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 87918797, https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL070373.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Osprey, S. M., N. Butchart, J. R. Knight, A. A. Scaife, K. Hamilton, J. A. Anstey, V. Schenzinger, and C. Zhang, 2016: An unexpected disruption of the atmospheric quasi-biennial oscillation. Science, 353, 14241427, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aah4156.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Plumb, R. A., 1977: The interaction of two internal waves with the mean flow: Implications for the theory of the quasi-biennial oscillation. J. Atmos. Sci., 34, 18471858, https://doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1977)0341847:TIOTIW>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rajendran, K., I. M. Moroz, S. M. Osprey, and P. L. Read, 2018: Descent rate models of the synchronization of the quasi-biennial oscillation by the annual cycle in tropical upwelling. J. Atmos. Sci., 75, 22812297, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-17-0267.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Renaud, A., L.-P. Nadeau, and A. Venaille, 2019: Periodicity disruption of a model quasibiennial oscillation of equatorial winds. Phys. Rev. Lett., 122, 214504, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.214504.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tweedy, O. V., and Coauthors, 2017: Response of trace gases to the disrupted 2015–2016 quasi-biennial oscillation. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 68136823, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-6813-2017.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wallace, J. M., R. L. Panetta, and J. Estberg, 1993: Representation of the equatorial stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation in EOF phase space. J. Atmos. Sci., 50, 17511762, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1993)0501751:ROTESQ>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watanabe, S., K. Hamilton, S. Osprey, Y. Kawatani, and E. Nishimoto, 2018: First successful hindcasts of the 2016 disruption of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 16021610, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL076406.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 140 140 140
Full Text Views 28 28 28
PDF Downloads 36 36 36

Anomalous Dynamics of QBO Disruptions Explained by 1D Theory with External Triggering

View More View Less
  • 1 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • 2 Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
© Get Permissions
Restricted access

Abstract

The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is an alternating, descending pattern of zonal winds in the tropical stratosphere with a period averaging 28 months. The QBO was disrupted in 2016, and arguably again in 2020, by the formation of an anomalous easterly shear zone, and unprecedented stagnation and ascent of shear zones aloft. Several mechanisms have been implicated in causing the 2016 disruption, most notably triggering by horizontal eddy momentum flux divergence, but also anomalous upwelling and wave stress. In this paper, the 1D theory of the QBO is used to show how seemingly disparate features of disruptions follow directly from the dynamics of the QBO response to triggering. The perturbed QBO is interpreted using a heuristic version of the 1D model, which establishes that 1) stagnation of shear zones aloft resulted from wave dissipation in the shear zone formed by the triggering, and 2) ascent of shear zones aloft resulted from climatological upwelling advecting the stagnant shear zones. Obstacles remain in the theory of triggering. In the 1D theory, the phasing of the triggering is key to determining the response, but the dependence on magnitude is less steep. Yet in MERRA-2, there are triggering events only 20% weaker than the 2016 triggering and equal to the 2020 triggering that did not lead to disruptions. Complicating matters further, MERRA-2 has record-large analysis tendencies during the 2016 disruption, reducing confidence in the resolved momentum budget.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Aaron Match, amatch@princeton.edu

Abstract

The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is an alternating, descending pattern of zonal winds in the tropical stratosphere with a period averaging 28 months. The QBO was disrupted in 2016, and arguably again in 2020, by the formation of an anomalous easterly shear zone, and unprecedented stagnation and ascent of shear zones aloft. Several mechanisms have been implicated in causing the 2016 disruption, most notably triggering by horizontal eddy momentum flux divergence, but also anomalous upwelling and wave stress. In this paper, the 1D theory of the QBO is used to show how seemingly disparate features of disruptions follow directly from the dynamics of the QBO response to triggering. The perturbed QBO is interpreted using a heuristic version of the 1D model, which establishes that 1) stagnation of shear zones aloft resulted from wave dissipation in the shear zone formed by the triggering, and 2) ascent of shear zones aloft resulted from climatological upwelling advecting the stagnant shear zones. Obstacles remain in the theory of triggering. In the 1D theory, the phasing of the triggering is key to determining the response, but the dependence on magnitude is less steep. Yet in MERRA-2, there are triggering events only 20% weaker than the 2016 triggering and equal to the 2020 triggering that did not lead to disruptions. Complicating matters further, MERRA-2 has record-large analysis tendencies during the 2016 disruption, reducing confidence in the resolved momentum budget.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Aaron Match, amatch@princeton.edu
Save