A prominent, abrupt climate event about 8200 years ago brought generally cold and dry conditions to broad northern-hemisphere regions especially in wintertime, in response to a very large outburst flood that freshened the North Atlantic. Changes were much larger than typical climate variability before and after the event, with anomalies up to many degrees contributing to major displacement of vegetative patterns. This "8k" event provides a clear case of cause and effect in the paleoclimatic realm, and so offers an excellent opportunity for model testing. The response to North Atlantic freshening has the same general anomaly pattern as observed for older events associated with abrupt climate changes following North Atlantic freshening, and so greatly strengthens the case that those older events also reflect North Atlantic changes. The North Atlantic involvement in the 8k event helps in estimating limits on climate anomalies that might result in the future if warming-caused ice-melt and hydrologic-cycle intensification at high latitudes lead to major changes in North Atlantic circulation. Few model experiments have directly addressed the 8k event, and most studies of proxy records across this event lack the time resolution to fully characterize the anomalies, so much work remains to be done.