Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Research article
17 Jan 2011
Research article |  | 17 Jan 2011

The role of the QBO in the inter-hemispheric coupling of summer mesospheric temperatures

P. J. Espy, S. Ochoa Fernández, P. Forkman, D. Murtagh, and J. Stegman

Abstract. Inter-hemispheric coupling between the polar summer mesosphere and planetary-wave activity in the extra-tropical winter stratosphere has recently been inferred using Polar Mesospheric Cloud (PMC) properties as a proxy for mesospheric temperature (Karlsson et al., 2007). Here we confirm these results using a ten-year time series of July mesospheric temperatures near 60° N derived from the hydroxyl (OH) nightglow. In addition, we show that the time-lagged correlation between these summer mesospheric temperatures and the ECMWF winter stratospheric temperatures displays a strong Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). The sign and phase of the correlation is consistent with the QBO modulation of the extra-tropical stratospheric dynamics in the Southern Hemisphere via the Holton-Tan mechanism (Holton and Tan, 1980). This lends strength to the identification of synoptic and planetary waves as the driver of the inter-hemispheric coupling, and results in a strong QBO modulation of the polar summer mesospheric temperatures.

Final-revised paper