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The period Younger Dryas is named after the flower Dryas octopetala. Photo credit: Maja Dumat (section, by a CC BY 2.0 license)

Younger Dryas – a cold spell in times of melting

As the ice was retreating at the end of the last ice age, the melting was suddenly interrupted. A cold period of more than a thousand years followed. Jan Mangerud presents his new study, where he describes the cold period called Younger Drias. 


Written by Jan Mangerud, professor emeritus at the Bjerknes Centre and the Department of Earth Science at the University of Bergen

The Younger Dryas was the last, and a very surprising, cold spell at the end of the ice age. It lasted from 12,800 to 11,600 years before present, and it came at a time when we expected that the climate should become warmer – not colder.

In a new paper on the research history, I have described how this cold period, named from the mountain flower Dryas octopetala, was discovered in Denmark in 1901.

I argue that the Younger Dryas is part of a Dansgaard-Oeschger event, which are fast climate changes that occurred repeatedly through the last ice age. If this is correct, then the most popular hypotheses for the Younger Dryas are falsified.


Mangerud, J.  2020:  The discovery of the Younger Dryas, and comments on the current meaning and usage of the termBoreas, Vol.  00, pp.  1– 5. https://doi.org/10.1111/bor.12481. ISSN 0300‐9483.