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Water 2017, 9(4), 236;

Understanding the Budyko Equation

Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114, USA
Earth & Environmental Sciences Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Academic Editor: Timothy Green
Received: 2 February 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 25 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water and Solute Transport in Vadose Zone)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [266 KB, uploaded 25 March 2017]


The Budyko equation has achieved iconic status in hydrology for its concise and accurate representation of the relationship between annual evapotranspiration and long-term-average water and energy balance at catchment scales. Accelerating anthropogenic land-use and climate change have sparked a renewed interest in predictive applications of the Budyko equation to analyze future scenarios important to water resource management. These applications, in turn, have inspired a number of attempts to derive mathematical models of the Budyko equation from a variety of specific assumptions about the original Budyko hypothesis. Here, we show that the Budyko equation and all extant models of it can be derived rigorously from a single mathematical assumption concerning the Budyko hypothesis. The implications of this fact for parametric models of the Budyko equation also are explored. View Full-Text
Keywords: Budyko equation; evapotranspiration; green water; catchment hydrology; water balance Budyko equation; evapotranspiration; green water; catchment hydrology; water balance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sposito, G. Understanding the Budyko Equation. Water 2017, 9, 236.

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