During boreal summer the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS) in the Northern Hemisphere shows a distinct maximum in water vapour (H2O) mixing ratios and a coincident minimum in ozone (O3) mixing ratios, both confined within the Asian monsoon anticyclone (AMA). This well-known feature has been related to transport processes emerging above the convective systems during the Asian summer monsoon (ASM), further modified by the dynamics of the AMA. We compare the ability of chemistry–climate models (CCMs) to reproduce the climatological characteristics and variability of H2O, O3, and temperature in the UTLS during the boreal summer with MIPAS satellite observations and ERA- Interim reanalyses. By using a multiple linear regression model the main driving factors, the strength of the ASM, the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), are separated. The regression patterns related to ENSO show a coherent, zonally asymmetric signal for temperatures and H2O mixing ratios for ERA-Interim and the CCMs and suggest a weakening of the ASM during ENSO warm events. The QBO modulation of the lower-stratospheric temperature near the Equator is well represented as a zonally symmetric pattern in the CCMs. Changes in H2O and O3 mixing ratios are consistent with the QBO-induced temperature and circulation anomalies but less zonally symmetric than the temperature pattern. Regarding the ASM, the results of the regression analysis show for ERA-Interim and the CCMs enhanced H2O and reduced O3 mixing ratios within the AMA for stronger ASM seasons. The CCM results can further confirm earlier studies which emphasize the importance of the Tibetan Plateau/southern slope of the Himalayas as the main source region for H2O in the AMA. The results suggest that H2O is transported towards higher latitudes at the north-eastern edge of the AMA rather than towards low equatorial latitudes to be fed into the tropical pipe.