Articles | Volume 26, issue 8
01 Aug 2008
 | 01 Aug 2008

Stratospheric semi-decadal oscillations in NCEP data

H. G. Mayr, J. G. Mengel, F. T. Huang, E. R. Talaat, E. R. Nash, and C. A. Reddy

Abstract. An analysis of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) data is presented to provide a more complete description of the stratospheric 5-year semi-decadal (SD) oscillation (Mayr et al., 2007). The zonal-mean temperature and zonal wind data from the Atmospheric Research R-1 analysis are employed, covering the years from 1962 to 2002 in the altitude range from 10 to 30 km. For diagnostic purposes, the data are separated into the hemispherically symmetric and anti-symmetric components, and spectral analysis is applied to identify the signatures of the SD oscillations. Through the synthesis or filtering of spectral features, the SD modulations of the annual oscillation (AO) and quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) are delineated. In agreement with the earlier findings, the magnitude of the SD oscillation is more pronounced when the 30-month QBO dominates during the years from 1975 to 1995. This is consistent with results from a numerical model, which shows that such a QBO generates the SD oscillation through interaction with the 12-month AO. In the zonal winds, the SD oscillation in the NCEP data is confined to equatorial latitudes, where it modulates the symmetric AO and QBO by about 5 m/s below 30 km. In the temperature data, the effect is also seen around the equator, but it is much larger at polar latitudes where the SD oscillation produces variations as large as 2 K. Our data analysis indicates that the SD oscillation is mainly hemispherically symmetric, and it appears to originate at equatorial latitudes where most of the energy resides.