• anthropogenic forcing;
  • stratosphere-troposphere coupling;
  • climate change

[1] We address the question of how ozone and long-lived greenhouse gas changes impact the Northern Annular Mode (NAM). Using reanalyses and results from the Chemistry-Climate Model Validation 2 (CCMVal-2) initiative, we calculate seasonal NAM indices from geopotential height for winter and spring. From these, we determine the strength of stratosphere-troposphere coupling in the model simulations and the reanalyses. For both seasons, we find a large spread in the ability of models to represent the vertical coherence of the NAM, although most models are within the 95% confidence interval. In winter, many models underestimate the vertical coherence derived from the reanalyses. Some models exhibit substantial differences in vertical coherence between simulations driven with modeled and observed ocean conditions. In spring, in the simulations using modeled ocean conditions, models with poorer horizontal or vertical resolution tend to underestimate the vertical coupling, and vice versa for models with better resolution. Accounting for model deficits in producing an appropriate troposphere-stratosphere coupling, we show significant correlations of the NAM in winter with three indices representing the anthropogenic impact. Analysis of cross-correlations between these indices suggests that increasing CO2 is the main reason for these correlations in this season. In the CCMVal-2 simulations, CO2 increases are associated with a weakening of the NAM in winter. For spring, we show that the dominant effect is chemical ozone depletion leading to a transient strengthening of the NAM, with CO2 changes playing an insignificant role.