Tropopause temperatures (TPTs) control the amount of stratospheric water vapour, which influences chemistry, radiation and circulation in the stratosphere, and is also an important driver of surface climate. Decadal variability and long-term trends in tropical TPTs as well as stratospheric water vapour are largely unknown. Here, we present for the first time evidence, from reanalysis and state-of-the-art climate model simulations, of a link between decadal variability in tropical TPTs and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

Quasi-decadal variability in solar irradiance has been suggested to exert a substantial effect on Earth’s regional climate. In the North Atlantic sector, the 11-year solar signal has been proposed to project onto a pattern resembling the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), with a lag of a few years due to ocean-atmosphere interactions. The solar/NAO relationship is, however, highly misrepresented in climate model simulations with realistic observed forcings.