There is a direct connection between climate change and the piles of snow many of us have been shoveling. The connection was explained on "The World" by reporter Peter Thompson on WGBH radio. Please take a listen. It will only take 3 minutes of your time.
If you hear a remark or joke about the record snow "disproving" or being inconsistent with global warming, there's no need to bite your tongue and wait for a heat wave. It can be rebutted and become a teachable moment. "Actually," you might say, "the record heavy snows of this year and 2013 are a direct result of higher sea surface temperatures off the northeast coast. The waters from New England to Newfoundland are a global hotspot for rising surface water temperature, possible because the Gulf Stream is slowing down."
"The water doesn't move around much, but the air does. Due to the jet stream, New England happens to be getting almost all the unusually cold air in the U.S. right now. The rest of the country, including most of the West is unusually warm."
"When the cold air hits the warm water and the moisture from the water, boom, we get nor-easters and big ocean effect snow events." You can check out the data yourself at this excellent web page produced by the University of Maine. Compare the "Temperature Anomaly" with the "Sea Surface T Anomaly." It's pretty dramatic.