Most combination equations for evaporation rely on a linear expansion of the saturation vapor-pressure curve around the air temperature. Because the temperature at the surface may differ from this temperature by several degrees, and because the saturation vapor-pressure curve is nonlinear, this approximation leads to a certain degree of error in those evaporation equations. It is possible, however, to introduce higher-order polynomial approximations for the saturation vapor-pressure curve and to derive a family of explicit equations for evaporation, having any desired degree of accuracy. Under the linear approximation, the new family of equations for evaporation reduces, in particular cases, to the combination equations of H. L. Penman (Natural evaporation from open water, bare soil and grass, Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A193, 120-145, 1948) and of subsequent workers. Comparison of the linear and quadratic approximations leads to a simple approximate expression for the error associated with the linear case. Equations based on the conventional linear approximation consistently underestimate evaporation, sometimes by a substantial amount. ?? 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.