The present study compares simulations of the 2009 sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) from four different whole atmosphere models. The models included in the comparison are the Ground-to-topside model of Atmosphere and Ionosphere for Aeronomy, Hamburg Model of the Neutral and Ionized Atmosphere, Whole Atmosphere Model, and Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model Extended version (WACCM-X). The comparison focuses on the zonal mean, planetary wave, and tidal variability in the middle and upper atmosphere during the 2009 SSW. The model simulations are constrained in the lower atmosphere, and the simulated zonal mean and planetary wave variability is thus similar up to ∼1 hPa (50 km). With the exception of WACCM-X, which is constrained up to 0.002 hPa (92 km), the models are unconstrained at higher altitudes leading to considerable divergence among the model simulations in the mesosphere and thermosphere. We attribute the differences at higher altitudes to be primarily due to different gravity wave drag parameterizations. In the mesosphere and lower thermosphere, we find both similarities and differences among the model simulated migrating and nonmigrating tides. The migrating diurnal tide (DW1) is similar in all of the model simulations. The model simulations reveal similar temporal evolution of the amplitude and phase of the migrating semidiurnal tide (SW2); however, the absolute SW2 amplitudes are significantly different. Through comparison of the zonal mean, planetary wave, and tidal variability during the 2009 SSW, the results of the present study provide insight into aspects of the middle and upper atmosphere variability that are considered to be robust features, as well as aspects that should be considered with significant uncertainty.
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