• QBO period modulation;
  • solar cycle

[1] Using the updated Singapore wind from 1953 to 2007 for the lower stratosphere 70–10 hPa, courtesy of Barbara Naujokat of Free University of Berlin, we examine the variation of the period of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) as a function of height and its modulation in time by the 11-year solar cycle. The analysis is supplemented by the ERA-40 reanalysis up to 1 hPa. Previously, it was reported that the descent of the easterly shear zone tends to stall near 30 hPa during solar minimum, leading to a lengthened QBO westerly duration near 44–50 hPa and the reported anticorrelation of the westerly duration and the solar cycle. Using an objective method, continuous wavelet transform (CWT), for the determination of local QBO period, we find that the whole QBO period is almost invariant with respect to height, so that the stalling mechanism affects only the partition of the whole period between easterly and westerly durations. Using this longest data set available for equatorial stratospheric wind, which spans five and half solar cycles (six solar minima), we find that in three solar minima, the QBO period is lengthened, while in the remaining almost three solar cycles, the QBO period is lengthened instead at solar maxima. We suggest that the decadal variation of the QBO period originates in the upper stratosphere, where the solar-ozone radiative influence is strong. The solar modulation of the QBO period is found to be nonstationary; the averaged effect cannot be determined unless the data record is much longer. In shorter records, the correlation can change sign, as we have found in segments of the longest record available, with or without lag.