The Budyko framework characterizes landscape water cycles as a function of climate. We used this framework to identify regions with contrasting hydroclimatic change during the past 50 years in Sweden. This analysis revealed three distinct regions: the mountains, the forests, and the areas with agriculture. Each region responded markedly different to recent climate and anthropogenic changes, and within each region, we identified the most sensitive subregions.
These results highlight the need for regional differentiation in climate change adaptation strategies to protect vulnerable ecosystems and freshwater resources. Further, the Budyko curve moved systematically towards its water and energy limits, indicating augmentation of the water cycle driven by changing vegetation, climate and human interactions. This finding challenges the steady state assumption of the Budyko curve and therefore its ability to predict future water cycles.