the goals of Theme 3 are mainly expressed in terms of model development and less in terms of scientific objectives (which are the ‘drivers’ of model development). This limits the extent to which the modeling efforts of Theme 3 can be linked to goals found in other Themes. For example, no specific mention is made of how the improved understanding of processes and mechanisms (as part of understanding the impacts of ocean acidification) will be incorporated into improving models. Because this timely transfer of knowledge may prove difficult, the strategic plan needs to give specific consideration to how this can be facilitated, in particular when developing the implementation plan. The development and implementation of major oceanic processes (e.g., carbonate production and dissolution, nitrogen cycling, carbon assimilation) and biological processes (e.g., growth and recruitment along life stages) as a function of seawater carbonate chemistry all have clear relevance to other Themes. Thus, better integration of modeling with relevant sections in other Themes of the Strategic Plan is needed. For example, how will the monitoring activities in Theme 1 benefit from—and provide assistance to—modeling? What are the likely contributions of modeling to the evaluation of local mitigation and adaptation measures, an important issue within the socioeconomic framework of Theme 5?
Theme 3 also identifies important shortcomings in current biogeochemical models and identifies areas where model improvement is crucial in the context of impact assessments. However, it does not discuss the uncertainties inherent to model results, which would place the potential contributions and limitations of models into a more complete perspective. In addition, model development, in particular increasing model complexity, can benefit from model-data evaluation. The Strategic Plan could be improved by discussing how the use of multiple models can enhance modeling efforts. Currently, multi-model studies are the present day “best practice” in carbon cycle research (e.g., Orr et al., 2001). Steinacher et al. (2010) illustrate how the insights provided by several models can be combined to improve future projections. Multi-model projections will further allow a first appreciation of uncertainties linked to the assessment of impacts on biogeochemistry, as well as on marine resources (Stock et al., 2011).
Modeling could contribute to the FOARAM Act and specifically to the requirement to ‘enhance monitoring and detection capacities,’ by developing an integrated approach combining continuous environmental data acquisition and operational modeling systems. At the scale of regional systems, this could evolve, in the long term, toward an early ‘warning’ system. For example, the shellfish industry would likely benefit through the development of models that allow rapid detection and short-term forecasting of strong upwelling events that bring low pH water to shallow, near-shore