Changes in the intermediate water structure of the North Atlantic were reconstructed using benthic foraminiferal delta13C at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) site 982 for the past 1.0 Myr. During most terminations of the late Pleistocene, melting of icebergs and low-salinity surface waters caused production of Glacial North Atlantic Intermediate Water to cease, resulting in decreased ventilation of the middepth North Atlantic. Poor ventilation of intermediate water masses lasted well into some interglacial stages until upper North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) production resumed under full interglacial conditions. The magnitude of benthic delta13C minima and ice-rafted debris maxima at terminations at site 982 generally match the degree of glacial suppression of NADW inferred from site 607. These processes may be related and controlled by the spatial and seasonal extent of sea ice cover during glaciations in the Nordic Seas.