New surface water records from two high sedimentation rate sites, located in the western subtropical North Atlantic near the axis of the Gulf Stream, provide clear evidence of suborbital climate variations through marine isotope stage (MIS) 5 persisting even into the warm peak of the interglaciation (substage 5e). We found that the amplitude of suborbital climate oscillations did not vary significantly for the whole of MIS 5, implying that ice volume has little or no influence on the amplitude of suborbital climate variability in this region. Although some records suggest that longer suborbital variations (4–10 kyr) during MIS 5 are linked to deepwater changes, none of the existing records is of sufficient resolution to assess if a linkage occurred for oscillations shorter than 4 kyr. However, when examined in conjunction with published data from the Norwegian Sea, new evidence from the subpolar North Atlantic suggests that coupled surface-deepwater oscillations occurred during the penultimate deglaciation. This supports the hypothesis that during glacial and deglacial times, ocean-ice interactions and deepwater variability amplify suborbital climate change at higher latitudes. We suggest that during the penultimate deglaciation the North Atlantic deepwater source varied between Nordic Sea and open North Atlantic locations, in parallel with surface temperature oscillations.