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Using an international, multi-model suite of historical forecasts from the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Climate-system Historical Forecast Project (CHFP), we compare the seasonal prediction skill in boreal wintertime between models that resolve the stratosphere and its dynamics (high-top') and models that do not (low-top'). We evaluate hindcasts that are initialized in November, and examine the model biases in the stratosphere and how they relate to boreal wintertime (December-March) seasonal forecast skill. We are unable to detect more skill in the high-top ensemble-mean than the low-top ensemble-mean in forecasting the wintertime North Atlantic Oscillation, but model performance varies widely. Increasing the ensemble size clearly increases the skill for a given model. We then examine two major processes involving stratosphere-troposphere interactions (the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO)) and how they relate to predictive skill on intraseasonal to seasonal time-scales, particularly over the North Atlantic and Eurasia regions. High-top models tend to have a more realistic stratospheric response to El Nino and the QBO compared to low-top models. Enhanced conditional wintertime skill over high latitudes and the North Atlantic region during winters with El Nino conditions suggests a possible role for a stratospheric pathway.


Butler, Amy H.;  Arribas, Alberto;  Athanassiadou, Maria;  Baehr, Johanna;  Calvo, Natalia;  Charlton-Perez, Andrew;  Deque, Michel;  Domeisen, Daniela I. V.;  Froehlich, Kristina;  Hendon, Harry;  Imada, Yukiko;  Ishii, Masayoshi;  Iza, Maddalen;  Karpechko, Alexey Yu.;  Kumar, Arun;  MacLachlan, Craig;  Merryfield, William J.;  Mueller, Wolfgang A.;  O'Neill, Alan;  Scaife, Adam A.;  Scinocca, John;  Sigmond, Michael;  Stockdale, Timothy N.;  Yasuda, Tamaki

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