The role of climatic variation in regulating marine populations and communities is not well understood. To improve our knowledge, the sign, amplitude, and frequency of climatic and biotic variations should be compared as a necessary first step. it is shown that there have been large interannual and interdecadal sea-surface temperature changes off the West Coast of North America during the past 80 years. Interannual anomalies appear and disappear rather suddenly and synchronously along the entire coastline. The frequency of warm events has increased since 1977. Although extensive, serial, biological observations are often incomplete, it is clear that climate-ocean variations have disturbed and changed our coastal ecosystems.