Large-Scale Controls of the Surface Water Balance Over Land-Insights From a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Padrón, R.S., Gudmundsson, L., Greve, P., & Seneviratne, S.I. (2017). Large-Scale Controls of the Surface Water Balance Over Land-Insights From a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Water Resources Research 53 (11) 9659-9678. 10.1002/2017WR021215.

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Project: Land-Climate Interactions: Constraints for Droughts and Heatwaves in a Changing Climate (DROUGHT-HEAT, FP7 617518)


The long-term surface water balance over land is described by the partitioning of precipitation (P) into runoff and evapotranspiration (ET), and is commonly characterized by the ratio ET/P. The ratio between potential evapotranspiration (PET) and P is explicitly considered to be the primary control of ET/P within the Budyko framework, whereas all other controls are often integrated into a single parameter, ω. Although the joint effect of these additional controlling factors of ET/P can be significant, a detailed understanding of them is yet to be achieved. This study therefore introduces a new global dataset for the long-term mean partitioning of P into ET and runoff in 2733 catchments, which is based on in-situ observations and assembled from a systematic examination of peer-reviewed studies. A total of 26 controls of ET/P that are proposed in the literature are assessed using the new dataset. Results reveal that: (i) factors controlling ET/P vary between regions with different climate types; (ii) controls other than PET/P explain at least 35% of the ET/P variance in all regions, and up to ∼90% in arid climates; (iii) among these, climate factors and catchment slope dominate over other landscape characteristics; and (iv) despite the high attention that vegetation-related indices receive as controls of ET/P, they are found to play a minor and often non-significant role. Overall, this study provides a comprehensive picture on factors controlling the partitioning of P, with valuable insights for model development, watershed management, and the assessment of water resources around the globe.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 07:55
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:29

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