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  • Editors' Introduction
  • Selima Sultana and Paul Knapp

We are grateful for the excellent contributions that comprise the Spring issue of Volume 60 of the Southeastern Geographer. The four articles in this issue nicely illustrate the eclectic and diverse nature of geography yet are synchronized by their focus within the American South.

Foglietti et al. examine US tornado outbreak activity during 1975–2014 and find that following exclusion of individual tornadoes, a tornado "outbreak alley" is located in the "US Midsouth" that includes southern Arkansas, northern Mississippi and northern Alabama—an area several hundred miles away from what is considered "Tornado Alley." Their work demonstrates how evaluating spatial patterns of singular tornadoes versus tornado outbreaks produces different outcomes as well as the challenges of mapping tornado outbreaks when no formal definition exists. That said, even when using a variety of tornado outbreak definitions, a similar spatial pattern emerges indicating that tornadic activity in the American South exhibits a distinct geographic character.

Sherman-Morris et al. provide a novel analysis of the parasocial relationship between broadcast meteorologists and members of the public in the context of a real-world weather event. Specifically, Sherman-Morris et al. strive to provide insight on this relationship and determine whether it has any impact or effect on an individual's hurricane risk perception or protective behaviors (i.e., evacuation decisions). Their work discovers that there is no statistical relationship between an individual's parasocial relationship with their broadcast meteorologist and their hurricane risk perception or hurricane protective behavior. Their article explores the reasons for this surprising result—including changes in the media landscape, and weathercasters' different roles in different extreme weather events.

Curtis et al. integrate a variety of methodologies to identify the best locations in North Carolina to convert agricultural land into sites with utility-scale photovoltaic panels, hence the term "solar farms." Using a food-water-energy approach, the authors show that the conversion of cultivated landscapes with solar farms results in both the production of a renewable energy source and improvements in water quality because of the removal of cropping. Curtis et al.'s innovative approach identifies locations where all three criteria favorable for solar farms exist. Thus, sites with an abundance of agricultural land, engaging in cropping practices most likely to result in water-quality degradation, and near transmission lines are considered the most viable for conversion.

McDade et al. address the consequences of eastern hemlock mortality on large woody debris (LWD) loads in headwater stream environments of the southern Appalachians. [End Page 3] Since the introduction of the non-native hemlock woolly adelgid in 1954, eastern hemlock forests of the American South that prefer riparian zones have significantly declined and woody debris from the trees have impacted stream geomorphology. McDade et al. address this emerging issue by focusing on three headwater watersheds in North Carolina and found that greater hemlock mortality was associated with higher LWD loads but the effects of this decline on streamflow has not yet peaked.

meet the team

Volume 60 Issue 1 marks the beginning of our four-year term as co-editors of the Southeastern Geographer. As long-time members of SEDAAG and graduates of the University of Georgia, our appreciation of the importance of the journal is deep-rooted and we hope to continue the high standards of the journal. We are grateful for the help from the outgoing editorial team of Hilda Kurtz, Deepak Mishra, Nancy O'Hare, Christian Petterson, and Andy Walter, each whom was generous with their time assisting us through the transition. We also thank them for their numerous contributions to the journal, including implementing ScholarOne, which has substantially facilitated the review process. As they noted at the beginning of their term four years ago, serving as editors is an honor—a sentiment we share.

Our role as editors will be to encourage submission of high-quality articles focusing on geographical aspects of the American South that includes both events and conditions. Likewise, we wish to continue to elevate readership and publish articles that will be cited often. In reviewing past issues of the Southeastern Geographer, we remarked on the number excellent articles on a wide variety of topics and the...


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