4.4 Summary of Section 4
Since the end of the last ice age, the climate has been uncharacteristically stable compared with the previous 800 000 years of the ice core record. This stable period is called the Holocene. The change from ice age to interglacial was not smooth, and there were two rapid cooling periods: the Younger Dryas and the 8.2 ka event. These are the most significant climate changes that humans have had to endure, and both have been linked to changes in the global ocean circulation. The 8.2 ka event coincided with the start of the spread of human settlement throughout Europe. By 5000 years ago there appears to be evidence of human influence on the composition of the atmosphere.