Challenges in and Opportunities for International Collaboration

Zafar Adeel, Laura Bakkensen, Orlando Cabrera-Rivera, Ernesto Franco, Gregg M. Garfin, Renee A. McPherson, Karla Méndez, Xin Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flooding, including inland and coastal flooding, is one of the most devastating and costly natural hazards in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Recent research conducted by an international team has focused on understanding the true and comprehensive economic costs of floods, with an eye toward addressing their impacts, allocating adequate resources for monitoring and preparedness, and building resilient communities. Flood-costing methods vary greatly among federal and subnational jurisdictions across the three North American countries. Because the rigor and consistency of existing datasets across the three countries vary significantly, it is also difficult to determine the economic impacts of cross-border events. This paper aims to critically analyze the research methods used to conduct this trinational project and develop recommendations for enhancing impacts of such work in the future. We discuss three major research barriers: gaps in knowledge and research capacity, differences in data collation and analysis methods across the three countries, and linguistic barriers in working across disciplines and economic sectors. We also explore how the COVID-19 pandemic significantly added to these three barriers. We propose creation of new institutional mechanisms that can play a major role in developing comprehensive, consistent, and cohesive data gathering approaches in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1323-E1332
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Damage assessment
  • Databases
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Flood events
  • North America
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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