While the development and partnership process varies between regions, there are shared lessons for addressing obstacles unique to the binational context; these include differing languages, merging of seasonal outlooks based on different forecast models and release schedules, measurement units, topical foci, and web hosting challenges. Despite various challenges, the collaborative efforts have demonstrated mutual benefits for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Contributors and audiences for each of the countries have found the reports useful for increasing decision-makers’ awareness of their region’s climate and its impacts, and at different governmental scales (local, state, provincial, and federal). Moreover, regularly produced online products serve as a starting point for discussions with stakeholders about their needs for more specific and more process- or research-based climate services, such as adaptation or drought plans, workshops, and forecasts for specific parameters and lead-times.
At the technical level, joint bilateral efforts encourage each country to review and blend climate information from both sides of the border into single sets of products, and to explain discrepancies between forecasts. Having an organized binational group at a regional scale has aided in the assessment and communication of other potential climate events of interest in a specific region (e.g., El Niño Impacts on the Great Lakes, seasonal drivers in the Gulf of Maine). These collaborations have led to the improvements of existing products, such as developing 30-year climate averages for the Great Lakes region, that synchronize with U.S. averages to produce a geographically uninterrupted map across the international border.
Evaluation of these products has occurred both formally (e.g., surveys) and informally (e.g., email, word of mouth, workshops). Feedback has been positive, with product users approving of the content, the length, and the level of complexity of the narrative. A key component to the success of these international collaborations is developing and encouraging a sustained dialogue on climate issues, which can be especially valuable during major extreme events. Initiatives such as the North American Climate Services Partnership (NACSP) can provide platforms for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned across the different regions.