Lake records from northern Eurasia show regionally coherent patterns of changes during the late Quaternary. Lakes peripheral to the Scandinavian ice sheet were lower than those today but lakes in the Mediterranean zone were high at the glacial maximum, reflecting the dominance of glacial anticyclonic conditions in northern Europe and a southward shift of the Westerlies. The influence of the glacial anticyclonic circulation attenuated through the late glacial period, and the Westerlies gradually shifted northward, such that drier conditions south of the ice sheet were confined to a progressively narrower zone and the Mediterranean became drier. The early Holocene shows a gradual shift to conditions wetter than present in central Asia, associated with the expanded Asian monsoon, and in the Mediterranean, in response to local, monsoon-type circulation. There is no evidence of mid-continental aridity in northern Eurasia during the mid-Holocene. In contrast, the circum-Baltic region was drier, reflecting the increased incidence of blocking anticyclones centered on Scandinavia in summer. There is a gradual transition to modern conditions after ca. 5000 yr B.P. Although these broad-scale patterns are interrupted by shorter term fluctuations, the long-term trends in lake behavior show a clear response to changes in insolation and glaciation.