At the Younger Dryas–Preboreal transition, a high-resolution core from the northeastern Norwegian Sea reveals a two-step warming of sea surface temperatures dated at respectively 10 200–10 000 and 9700–9500 14C yr B.P. (11 450–11 350 and 11 150–11 000 cal. yr B.P.). Warming was interrupted by a period having stable temperatures and a reduction in sea surface salinity, and we suggest that this pause in warming was triggered by an increase in freshwater supply that may have hampered the North Atlantic heat conveyor. The freshwater influx correlates to an atmospheric cooling over both the Greenland ice sheet and northwest Europe and to cooling of surface temperatures in the Nordic seas. Freshwater may have been supplied from the waning Fennoscandian ice sheet.