With several major climate influencers at play, it is indeed a challenge to determine if, overall, climate is changing in general to a warmer or cooler standard. El Nino/La Nina, the AO (arctic oscillation), the NAO (North Atlantic oscillation) and other factors can result in some areas having colder than average and more precipitation than average, while others have warmer than average, and drier than average, for example. At the time when all the snowstorms were hitting the USA as well as the UK, the AO was running negative, which means the arctic air was able to spill down to the lower latitudes. At this time, the AO is running positive, so less arctic cold will move downward from the pole. Couple that with the La Nina in progress and it becomes very challenging to tell if there is a warming or cooling trend. The best approach, IMHO, is to take personal responsibility for our own actions. If this means choosing to use the car less (or not at all), or choosing "greener" solutions to our everyday problems, it will help in some small way, especially if everyone were to do something. But climate is a dynamic thing and will change, one way or another, even if humans weren't contributing to an amplification of the change.
Carrie, thanks for the honest article! I've felt that one of the most important scientific statements that can be made is "I don't know". It is only after that statement is made that research can begin.
Thank you, Lari Ann, for the lovely comment! (Usually what I, personally, do is ask for a sweater.) I respect your positive feedback (I cited you, after all,) and I am glad you don't think I should have provided all the answers.