An area of intense recent interest in physical oceanography and geophysical fluid dynamics is the theoretical and numerical analysis of the circulation of the oceans at planetary scales. While this has always been a tantalizing area, it has been a particularly active area in the last few years. Many of the basic ideas behind the modern baroclinic circulation theories appeared in the early 1980s in a series of papers by Peter Rhines (Univer sity of Washington (UW), Seattle) and William Young (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)) [Rhines and Young, 1982a,b; Young and Rhines,  and Jim Luyten, Joe Pedlosky, and Henry Stommel (all of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Woods Hole, Mass.) [Luyten et al., 1983]. Several other investigators have considered a variety of problems since then, and a considerable number of important contributions have been made.