The Lack of a QBO-MJO Connection in Climate Models With a Nudged Stratosphere

Zane K. Martin, Isla R. Simpson, Pu Lin, Clara Orbe, Qi Tang, Julie M. Caron, Chih Chieh Chen, Hyemi Kim, L. Ruby Leung, Jadwiga H. Richter, Shaocheng Xie

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The observed stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and the tropospheric Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) are strongly connected in boreal winter, with stronger MJO activity when lower-stratospheric winds are easterly. However, the current generation of climate models with internally generated representations of the QBO and MJO do not simulate the observed QBO-MJO connection, for reasons that remain unclear. This study builds on prior work exploring the QBO-MJO link in climate models whose stratospheric winds are relaxed toward reanalysis, reducing stratospheric biases in the model and imposing a realistic QBO. A series of ensemble experiments are performed using four state-of-the-art climate models capable of representing the MJO over the period 1980–2015, each with similar nudging in the stratosphere. In these four models, nudging leads to a good representation of QBO wind and temperature signals, however no model simulates the observed QBO-MJO relationship. Biases in MJO vertical structure and cloud-radiative feedbacks are investigated, but no conclusive model bias or mechanism is identified that explains the lack of a QBO-MJO connection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JD038722
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number17
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.


  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • climate models
  • nudged simulations
  • quasi-biennial oscillation


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