• 11 year solar cycle;
  • Pacific quasi decadal oscillation;
  • stratosphere-troposphere-ocean coupling

[1] The potential role of the stratosphere for the 11-year solar cycle signal in the Pacific region is investigated by idealized simulations using a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. The model includes a detailed representation of the stratosphere and accounts for changes in stratospheric heating rates from prescribed time dependent variations of ozone and spectrally high resolved solar irradiance. Three transient simulations are performed spanning 21 solar cycles each. The simulations use slightly different ozone perturbations representing uncertainties of solar induced ozone variations. The model reproduces the main features of the 20th century observed solar response. A persistent mean sea level pressure response to solar forcing is found for the eastern North Pacific extending over North America. Moreover, there is evidence for a La Niña-like response assigned to solar maximum conditions with below normal SSTs in the equatorial eastern Pacific, reduced equatorial precipitation, enhanced off-equatorial precipitation and an El Niño-like response a couple of years later, thus confirming the response to solar forcing at the surface seen in earlier studies. The amplitude of the solar signal in the Pacific region depends to a great extent on the choice of the centennial period averaged.