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A. C. Kren
,
D. R. Marsh
,
A. K. Smith
, and
P. Pilewskie

Abstract

The response of the Northern Hemisphere winter stratosphere to the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) is examined using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. A 200-yr preindustrial control simulation that includes fully interactive chemistry, ocean and sea ice, constant solar forcing, and greenhouse gases fixed to 1850 levels is analyzed. Based on principal component analysis, the PDO spatial pattern, frequency, and amplitude agree well with the observed PDO over the period 1900–2014. Consistent with previous studies, the positive phase of the PDO is marked by a strengthened Aleutian low and a wave train of geopotential height anomalies reminiscent of the Pacific–North American pattern in the troposphere. In addition to a tropospheric signal, a zonal-mean warming of about 2 K in the northern polar stratosphere and a zonal-mean zonal wind decrease of about 4 m s−1 in the PDO positive phase are found. When compositing PDO positive or negative winters during neutral El Niño years, the magnitude is reduced and depicts an early winter forcing of the stratosphere compared to a late winter response from El Niño. Contamination between PDO and ENSO signals is also discussed. Stratospheric sudden warmings occur 63% of the time in the PDO positive phase compared to 40% in the negative phase. Although this sudden warming frequency is not statistically significant, it is quantitatively consistent with NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data and recent observational evidence linking the PDO positive phase to weak stratospheric vortex events.

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