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The objective of this study is to investigate the time-dependent circulation in a closed basin where the steady circulation is included and long Rossby wave speeds are consistent with observations. Specifically, the large-scale baroclinic eigenmodes of a two-layer rectangular basin forced by surface wind stress in the limit of small dissipation are examined. Low-frequency modes with small decay rates independent of friction result when the constraint of mass conservation is enforced. Thedoi:10.1175/1520-0485(2003)033<0610:bmiatl>2.0.co;2 fatcat:ulsodnjqlzcdtexrybmrrpw6f4