Observational evidence of the complementary relationship in regional evaporation lends strong support for Bouchet's hypothesis



[1] Using independent observations of actual and potential evapotranspiration at a wide range of spatial scales, we provide direct observational evidence of the complementary relationship in regional evapotranspiration hypothesized by Bouchet in 1963. Bouchet proposed that, for large homogeneous surfaces with minimal advection of heat and moisture, potential and actual evapotranspiration depend on each other in a complementary manner through land-atmosphere feedbacks. Although much work has been done that has led to important theoretical and conceptual insights about regional actual evapotranspiration and its relation to regional potential evapotranspiration, never before has a data set of direct observations been assembled that so clearly displays complementarity, providing strong evidence for the complementary relationship hypothesis, and raising its status above that of a mere conjecture.