The δ18O data for the last 8000 years in the Greenland NGRIP1, GRIP, DYE-3 and GISP2 ice cores have been analyzed stratigraphically in search of potentially meaningful boundaries and units. Pattern matching of the profiles is supported by using graphical display enhancements, calculating spectral trend curves and generating a compound profile. Techniques routinely used in subsurface geology have been applied in correlating the profiles. Four major stratigraphic units are identified (8.1–4.9, 4.9–3.3, 3.3–1.9 and 1.9–0.1 ka b2k), resulting in an improved understanding of the climate change after the Holocene Climate Optimum. Correlatable higher-order boundaries are identified within these units. The layers between the boundaries show δ18O patterns which generally are similar in character, the differences being ascribed to lateral variations in the factors that control the isotope content of the ice. The layering forms a series of short-lived low-amplitude aperiodic oscillations on a centennial time scale. The suggestion is that these higher-order boundaries and δ18O oscillations have climatic significance. Equivalent units are tentatively identified in ice-core data from the Agassiz and Renland ice caps. Comparison with other climate proxies or stratigraphies from the Northern Hemisphere is expected to render support for the here proposed scheme. It will then serve to guide and constrain the analysis of the dynamics of the climatic fluctuations for the study period.