The influence of the stratosphere on the tropical troposphere
Observational and model studies suggest that the stratosphere exerts a significant influence on the tropical troposphere. The corresponding influence, through dynamical coupling, of the stratosphere on the extratropical troposphere has over the last 15-20 years been intensively investigated, with consequent improvement in scientific understanding which is already being exploited by weather forecasting and climate prediction centres. The coupling requires both communication of dynamical effects from stratosphere to troposphere and feedbacks within the troposphere which enhance the tropospheric response. Scientific understanding of the influence of the stratosphere on the tropical troposphere is far less eveloped. This review summarises the current observational and modelling evidence for that influence, on timescales ranging from diurnal to centennial. The current understanding of potentially relevant mechanisms for communication and for feedbacks within the tropical troposphere and the possible implications of the coupling for weather and climate prediction are discussed. These include opportunities for model validation and for improved subseasonal and seasonal forecasting and the effects, for example, of changes in stratospheric ozone and of potential geoengineering approaches. Outstanding scientific questions are identified and future needs for observational and modelling work to resolve these questions are suggested.