Articles | Volume 26, issue 5
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 26, 1507–1525, 2022
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 26, 1507–1525, 2022
Research article
18 Mar 2022
Research article | 18 Mar 2022

Theoretical and empirical evidence against the Budyko catchment trajectory conjecture

Nathan G. F. Reaver et al.

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Manuscript not accepted for further review
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Cited articles

Abatzoglou, J. T. and Ficklin, D. L.: Climatic and physiographic controls of spatial variability in surface water balance over the contiguous United States using the Budyko relationship, Water Resour. Res., 53, 7630–7643, 2017. 
Addor, N., Newman, A. J., Mizukami, N., and Clark, M. P.: The CAMELS data set: catchment attributes and meteorology for large-sample studies, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 5293–5313,, 2017. 
Allen, R. G., Pereira, L. S., Raes, D., and Smith, M.: Crop evapotranspiration-Guidelines for computing crop water requirements-FAO Irrigation and drainage paper 56, Fao, Rome, 300, D05109, ISBN 92-5-104219-5, 1998. 
Andréassian, V. and Sari, T.: Technical Note: On the puzzling similarity of two water balance formulas – Turc–Mezentsev vs. Tixeront–Fu, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 23, 2339–2350,, 2019. 
Bagrov, N.: O srednem mnogoletnem isparenii s poverchnosti susi (Über den vieljährigen Durchschnittswert der Verdunstung von der Oberfläche des Festlands), Meteorog. i Gridrolog, 10, 20–25, 1953. 
Short summary
The Budyko curve emerges globally from the behavior of multiple catchments. Single-parameter Budyko equations extrapolate the curve concept to individual catchments, interpreting curves and parameters as representing climatic and biophysical impacts on water availability, respectively. We tested these two key components theoretically and empirically, finding that catchments are not required to follow Budyko curves and usually do not, implying the parametric framework lacks predictive ability.