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1) that sent the immense Pleistocene ice sheets into rapid retreat, (2) several episodes of climatic warming and cooling between ~14,400 and 12,800 years ago, (3) sudden cooling 12,800 years ago at the beginning of the Younger Dryas, and (4) ~11,500 years ago, abrupt climatic warming of up to 10º C in just a few decades.
Perhaps the most precise record of late Pleistocene climate changes is found in the ice core stratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP) and the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP).
The Younger Dryas return to a cold, glacial climate was first considered to be a regional event restricted to Europe, but later studies have shown that it was a world-wide event.
The Younger Dryas was a period of rapid cooling in the late Pleistocene 12,800 to 11,500 calendar years ago.
The Younger Dryas interruption of the global warming that resulted in the abrupt, wholesale melting of the huge late Pleistocene ice sheets was first discovered in European pollen studies about 75 years ago.
This is a follow up posting to Younger Dryas -The Rest of the Story! The cause of these remarkably sudden climate changes has puzzled geologists and climatologists for decades and despite much effort to find the answer, can still only be considered enigmatic.
It followed closely on the heels of a dramatically abrupt warming that brought the last Ice Age to a close (17,500 calendar years ago), lasted for about 1,300 years, then ended as abruptly as it started.
The GRIP ice core is especially important because the ages of the ice at various levels in the core has been determined by the counting down of annual layers in the ice, giving a very accurate chronolgoy, and climatic fluctuations have been determined by measurement of oxygen isotope ratios. Temperature fluctuations over the past 17,000 years showing the abrupt cooling during the Younger Dryas.