Articles | Volume 26, issue 24
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-6289-2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-6289-2022
Research article
 | 
14 Dec 2022
Research article |  | 14 Dec 2022

Vegetation optimality explains the convergence of catchments on the Budyko curve

Remko C. Nijzink and Stanislaus J. Schymanski

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Short summary
Most catchments plot close to the empirical Budyko curve, which allows for estimating the long-term mean annual evaporation and runoff. We found that a model that optimizes vegetation properties in response to changes in precipitation leads it to converge to a single curve. In contrast, models that assume no changes in vegetation start to deviate from a single curve. This implies that vegetation has a stabilizing role, bringing catchments back to equilibrium after changes in climate.