Maps of monthly-averaged sea surface height (SSH) from (top) satellite and (bottom) the 2-km resolution ROMS model show substantial inter-annual variability in the winter dynamics along the US West Coast. In winter 2010 (two columns on the right, showing images for January and March), the winter downwelling was much stronger than in winter 2009 (two columns on the left), resulting in larger SSH rising along the coast. By March 2010 (column 4), energetic and long-lived anticyclonic eddies generated over the continental slope are apparent both in the data and model. These eddies potentially influence the coastal and slope circulation later that year. The model is being analyzed to study these influences [courtesy P. Fayman].