A decade of coastal ecosystem studies in the northeastern Pacific Ocean (NEP) have been carried out by the U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC) program. Our understanding of how these ecosystems respond to climate forcing was assessed by way of a forecasting exercise conducted during the annual GLOBEC-NEP scientific investigator meeting held 24–25 September 2007 in Seattle, Wash. The forecasting exercise used a real-life situation as a means of identifying the strengths and gaps in the understanding of climate/ocean physics/ecosystems interactions. The nature of the exercise was not divulged ahead of time, in part to encourage interactions among participants, and also to simulate conditions under which such requests are made by the media or by local regulatory agencies and policy makers.