This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1038/s44221-023-00160-y. This is version 2 of this Preprint.
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Global water models are increasingly used to understand the past, present, and future water cycle, but disagreements between models make model-based inferences uncertain. While there is empirical evidence of a number of large-scale hydrologic relationships, these relationships are rarely used for model evaluation. Here we evaluate global water models using functional relationships that capture the spatial co-variability of forcing (precipitation, net radiation) and response variables (actual evapotranspiration, groundwater recharge, total runoff). We find strong disagreement in the shape and strength of model-based forcing-response relationships, especially for groundwater recharge. Empirical and theory-derived functional relationships show varying agreements with models, indicating that our process understanding is particularly uncertain for energy balance processes, groundwater recharge processes, and in dry and/or cold regions. Functional relationships offer the potential for fundamental advances in global hydrology and should be a revived focus of hydrological research, with great potential for model evaluation.
Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Published: 2022-12-04 01:31
Last Updated: 2023-04-20 08:51
Conflict of interest statement:
Data Availability (Reason not available):
Available via the cited sources.