younger dryas

A period of relative cold around near the start of the present interglacial, thought to have been brought about by the discharge into the north Atlantic of fresh water from a huge glacial meltwater lake in north America. The system of ocean currents known as the Atlantic overturning circulation was disrupted and temperatures in northern Europe decreased by as much as 10oC.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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