Record snow, record cold, sea ports closed because of ice forming where it has not been observed in decades, yes, this winter has been a cold one throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, or has it? The United States, especially the lower 48 states, much of western Europe and China, three of the major populations centers have indeed experienced a relatively hard winter to this point.
But on a whole, the Northern Hemisphere is actually experiencing a warmer than average winter and the entire planet experienced the warmest January since 1978. Global circulation patterns associated with El Nino and oscillations in the arctic have kept the high and low latitudes with above average temperatures in recent weeks, yet the mid-latitudes have been exceptionally cold and snowy.
This is one of many reasons why trying to equate global or even regional weather into a single figure misrepresents the true nature of how the weather works and impacts the planet.