A 6-m.y.-long composite marine record of explosive silicic volcanism from five Ocean Drilling Program sites in the subpolar North Atlantic was compared with several marine records of global and local paleoclimate proxies (benthic δ18O and ice-rafted debris records). Coarsening and high frequency of occurrence of Icelandic tephras were recorded in 3.6–3 Ma sediments, suggesting that these tephras were dispersed farther from the source by enhanced westerly winds over the subpolar North Atlantic. The 40Ar/39Ar ages were determined by laser probe on K-feldspar and biotite phenocrysts of tephras that were erupted from the Jan Mayen volcanic system. Compared to the tuned paleomagnetic age model, the 40Ar/39Ar dating (0.618 ± 0.007 Ma to 4.90 ± 0.05 Ma) yields a new age model that postdates by 155 k.y. the inception of ice rafting on the Iceland Plateau during the cold marine isotope stage M2 (i.e., 3.3–3.14 Ma).