The dynamical response of the middle atmosphere to the tropospheric solar signal

P. Berg, B. Christiansen, P. Thejll, N. Arnold

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


To assess a possible solar modulation of the planetary waves, the 300 hPa geopotential height of the two major reanalysis data sets, NCEP/NCAR and ERA40, is studied for the difference between years of solar maximum and minimum activity for three solar cycles in the period 1963-1999. We find a significant positive difference over the North Pacific ocean for December through February which resembles that found in sea level pressures in earlier studies. Furthermore, there are statistically significant amplitude differences in the climatological state of the first two planetary waves extracted from the geopotential heights. We also perform a model study of the middle atmospheric response to the tropospheric solar signal. The 300 hPa geopotential height is used as the lower boundary in a middle atmosphere model which is run with a constant solar cycle minimum radiative forcing, so that only the lower boundary is forcing the middle atmosphere. The zonal wind and temperature at 300-0.01 hPa from the model experiment are studied in boreal winter for the same years that were studied in the geopotential height analysis. Differences of the means of the two data sets reproduce the structure and amplitude seen in observations and in reanalysis data. Whether this is a direct effect of the solar forcing of the troposphere or a feedback coupling of the solar forcing of the stratosphere is not presently clear, but the modulation of the tropospheric planetary waves seems to be important for the observed solar modulation of the stratosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD20122
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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