March 6, 2011 – The culprit in both accounts is warming. The North Atlantic Oscillation has been affected by the Arctic Oscillation, which has been enhanced by warming. The Arctic is warmer and more energetic. This energy is transferred to the jet stream. The energized jet stream pushes Arctic storms further south. Because the storms are warmer than usual, they hold more moisture. Some of the scientists are not convinced completely and say we need to wait before we know for sure. see here From the discussion below, we see that the last time we had weather anywhere close to this extreme was 1961 when we had four Cat 3 storms in a one 12-month period. Cat 3 storm, based on the Northeast Snowfall impact scale, it was 1961. In the last 2 winters we have had six (6) count-em – Six Cat 3 storms! Eh, See how conservative these science guys are?
From the press release: "This winter and last, New York City experienced its two snowiest months on record—February 2010 (36.9 inches) and January 2011 (36 inches)—and Philadelphia experienced four of the top 10 snowstorms in its history. In the Midwest, Chicago was hit by its third biggest snowstorm on record early this February and Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota all have suffered through near-record snows this winter. While sections of the United States have experienced stretches of unusually cold weather this winter, temperatures have not been significantly below average. That, too, provides an explanation for the heavy snowfalls."
Remember, the opposite of "it can be too cold to snow" is " the warmer it is the worse the snowstorms are going to be until it gets so warm that it doesn’t snow any longer."
Union of Concerned Scientists: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/climate-change-makes-snowstorms-more-likely-0506.html
National Snow and ice Data Center: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html