Research by scientists of the University of Saskatoon (Canada) has found that the arrival of the last cold phase of the late Ice Age, known as the Younger Dryas stadial, took place in few months.
Submilimetrical slicing of fossil sediments at Lough Monreagh in Ireland showed that biological activity stopped within months, a year at most. It would be like taking Ireland and moving it up to Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean, said led researcher William Patterson.
This is even shorter than the time suggested by less precise measurements in Greenland's ice sheet, that suggested an onset of the big freeze in one to three years.
It is believed that this cold period was triggered by melting of ice sheets due to global warming at the end of the Ice Age, causing the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe quite warmer than normal for its latitude, to stop flowing. The Younger Dryas period lasted some 14 centuries, from 12,900 to 11,500 years ago.
Source: New Scientist.