After the recent release of the historical runs by community Earth system model version 2–the whole atmosphere community climate model (CESM2-WACCM), the major sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events in this model and in its previous version (CESM1-WACCM) are compared based on a modern reanalysis (JRA55). Using the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) definition of SSWs and a threshold-based classification method that can describe the polar vortex morphology, SSWs in models and the reanalysis are further classified into two types, vortex displacement SSWs and vortex split SSWs. The general statistical characteristics of the two types of SSW events in the two model versions are evaluated. Both CESM1-WACCM and CESM2-WACCM models are shown to reproduce the SSW frequency successfully, although the circulations differences between vortex displacement SSWs and vortex split SSWs in CESM2-WACCM are smaller than in CESM1-WACCM. Composite polar temperature, geopotential height, wind, and eddy heat flux anomalies in both the two models and the reanalysis show similar evolutions. In addition, positive Pacific–North America and negative Western Pacific patterns in the troposphere preceding vortex displacement and split SSWs are observed in both observations and the models. The strong negative North Atlantic oscillation-like pattern, especially after vortex split SSW onset, is also identified in models. The near-surface cold Eurasia–warm North America pattern before both types of SSW onset, the warm Eurasia–cold North America pattern after displacement SSW onset, and the cold Eurasia–cold North America pattern after split SSW onset are consistently identified in JRA55, CESM1-WACCM, and CESM2-WACCM, although the temperature anomalies after the split SSW onset in CESM2-WACCM are somewhat underestimated.
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