Lonnie Thompson on why the cold weather doesn't mean there's not global warming

For much of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic (and especially for wimpy Floridians), it's been a particularly brutal winter. But for global warming skeptics, the record-breaking snowfall was an excuse to gloat.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky quipped, "Where's Al Gore when we need him?" and reportedly burst out laughing when he was asked about the odds of cap-and-trade legislation getting through the Senate this year. South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint tweeted that "It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries 'uncle,'" and Rush Limbaugh called it another nail in the coffin for "the whole global warming thing."

But Lonnie Thompson, an acclaimed professor at Ohio State University who served as an adviser for Gore's 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, says nobody should be making such rash judgments based on one particular weather cycle.

Speaking to CL after giving a presentation at USF's School of Global Sustainability conference last week, Thompson said the fact of the matter is that it's winter, and weather variability is at play. "If you look at this part of the world, it was cold in December here, but at the same time... it was 42 degrees and raining in Greenland."