North Pacific atmospheric and oceanic circulations are key missing pieces in our understanding of the reorganization of the global climate system since the Last Glacial Maximum. Here, using a basin‐wide compilation of planktic foraminiferal δ18O, we show that the North Pacific subpolar gyre extended ~3° further south during the Last Glacial Maximum, consistent with sea surface temperature and productivity proxy data. Climate models indicate that the expansion of the subpolar gyre was associated with a substantial gyre strengthening, and that these gyre circulation changes were driven by a southward shift of the midlatitude westerlies and increased wind stress from the polar easterlies. Using single‐forcing model runs, we show that these atmospheric circulation changes are a nonlinear response to ice sheet topography/albedo and CO2. Our reconstruction indicates that the gyre boundary (and thus westerly winds) began to migrate northward at ~16.5 ka, driving changes in ocean heat transport, biogeochemistry, and North American hydroclimate.