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Satellite‐borne scatterometer and infrared data collected over Gulf Stream warm and cold core rings are used to study the effect of the sea‐air temperature difference on the wind speed over rings. The observed acceleration of the wind over warm core rings and deceleration over cold core rings is found to be consistent with that predicted by the planetary boundary layer model of Brown and Foster [1994]. In addition it is shown that the distance over which the winds respond to an ocean surface temperature step is short (≤25km) while the distance over which the marine boundary layer responds to a surface temperature step is long (≥175km).