Stratospheric control of the madden-julian oscillation

Seok Woo Son, Yuna Lim, Changhyun Yoo, Harry H. Hendon, Joowan Kim

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188 Scopus citations


Interannual variation of seasonal-mean tropical convection over the Indo-Pacific region is primarily controlled by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). For example, during El Niño winters, seasonal-mean convection around the Maritime Continent becomes weaker than normal, while that over the central to eastern Pacific is strengthened. Similarly, subseasonal convective activity, which is associated with the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), is influenced by ENSO. The MJO activity tends to extend farther eastward to the date line during El Niño winters and contract toward the western Pacific during La Niña winters. However, the overall level of MJO activity across the Maritime Continent does not change much in response to the ENSO. It is shown that the boreal winter MJO amplitude is closely linked with the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) rather than with ENSO. The MJO activity around the Maritime Continent becomes stronger and more organized during the easterly QBO winters. The QBO-related MJO change explains up to 40% of interannual variation of the boreal winter MJO amplitude. This result suggests that variability of the MJO and the related tropical-extratropical teleconnections can be better understood and predicted by taking not only the tropospheric circulation but also the stratospheric mean state into account. The seasonality of the QBO-MJO link and the possible mechanism are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1922
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Meteorological Society.


  • ENSO
  • Interannual variability
  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • Quasibiennial oscillation
  • Stratosphere-troposphere coupling
  • Teleconnections


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