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Marking JHM’s 20th Anniversary

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  • 1 JHM Chief Editor
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Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

The Journal of Hydrometeorology (JHM) was launched in 2000 amid a growing appreciation of the link between hydrology and meteorology—particularly the role of the land surface in defining upper and lower boundary conditions for both disciplines. As noted in Dennis Lettenmaier’s editorial accompanying JHM’s first issue, growth in this area was clearly reflected in AMS meeting abstract numbers during the 1990s. However, prior to JHM, AMS lacked a dedicated journal outlet for hydrology research (Lettenmaier 2000).

The journal got off to a fast start, easily hitting the 50-paper mark in its first year (Lettenmaier 2001) and steadily growing from that point forward. Dennis’s successful tenure as chief editor was following by outstanding stewardship from William Kustas, Ana Barros, and Christa Peters-Lidard. I took over from Christa in early 2019 and inherited a journal in excellent shape. In 2018, JHM received 223 submissions and published 115 papers (both slight increases over 2017). Over the past 20 years, JHM has matured to the point where it competes on level ground with older, more traditional journals to publish impactful research. JHM’s 2018 Impact Factor score of 4.158 ranks it 12th out of 86 total journals in Clarivate’s meteorology and atmospheric science category. I would like to collectively congratulate all past JHM editors, associate editors, and peer review and production staff members for contributing to JHM’s 20-year journey to being one of the preeminent journals in its field.

JHM’s statement of purpose remains unchanged from the one quoted by Dennis in its very first issue. It seeks to publish research “related to the modeling, observing, and forecasting of processes related to water and energy fluxes and storage terms, including interactions with the boundary layer and lower atmosphere, and including processes related to precipitation, radiation, and other meteorological inputs.” Fitting for a journal occupying an interdisciplinary space, this statement was designed to be broad in scope. This inclusiveness continues to serve JHM well. A typical JHM issue illustrates work conducted at a wide variety of time/space scales and leverages a range of analysis techniques encompassing field experimentation, remote sensing, numerical modeling, data assimilation, and (more recently) machine learning—the unifying thread simply being relevance to processes impacting the water and energy budgets at the land surface or within the lower atmosphere.

While JHM has proven adept at responding to innovation in scientific approaches, it—like many of its peers—is currently facing ongoing questions regarding both the form and function of traditional scientific journals. In particular, the demands on scientific journals are increasing at the very moment when the viability of traditional funding strategies is being questioned. However, based on the outstanding efforts of its volunteer editorial staff and the leadership of the AMS Publications Commission and governing Council, JHM is entering its third decade in excellent position to address these challenges and sustain its scientific relevance and impact.

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