Skillful Seasonal Prediction of the Southern Annular Mode and Antarctic Ozone

Peer Reviewed

Seviour WJM, Hardiman SC, Gray LJ, Butchart N, MacLachlan C, & Scaife AA

Journal of Climate 27, Issue 19, pages 7462–7474, 2014, 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00264.1.

Using a set of seasonal hindcast simulations produced by the Met Office Global Seasonal Forecast System, version 5 (GloSea5), significant predictability of the southern annular mode (SAM) is demonstrated during the austral spring. The correlation of the September–November mean SAM with observed values is 0.64, which is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level [confidence interval: (0.18, 0.92)], and is similar to that found recently for the North Atlantic Oscillation in the same system. Significant skill is also found in the prediction of the strength of the Antarctic stratospheric polar vortex at 1 month average lead times. Because of the observed strong correlation between interannual variability in the strength of the Antarctic stratospheric circulation and ozone concentrations, it is possible to make skillful predictions of Antarctic column ozone amounts. By studying the variation of forecast skill with time and height, it is shown that skillful predictions of the SAM are significantly influenced by stratospheric anomalies that descend with time and are coupled with the troposphere. This effect allows skillful statistical forecasts of the October mean SAM to be produced based only on midstratosphere anomalies on 1 August. Together, these results both demonstrate a significant advance in the skill of seasonal forecasts of the Southern Hemisphere and highlight the importance of accurate modeling and observation of the stratosphere in producing long-range forecasts.

Keywords: Southern Oscillation, Stratophere-troposphere coupling, Ozone, Seasonal forecasting
Categories: Antarctic, Natural Science