Dawg, here's a healthy link: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/
Can't speak to little ice ages, but not unreasonable. Agree about the variation; that's what climatologists are saying. Not that everywhere will get steadily warmer but that there will be more extreme weather, more swings. Skis that can handle refrozen and ice one day and slop and crud the next should do really well.
VC, not sure there's any way to answer your question because not sure what you mean by long range. The one year NOAA forecast pages include a lot of serious methodological links. My sense is that it's a decent but not amazing R Sq (% variation explained) because of all the intervening variables, gets stronger each month closer to next season, obviously. They underestimated the extent of the warm middle winter almost everywhere, and the March temps in NE, but had the general pattern right. I'd guess they're trapped in the same problem that your local weather channel is: Forecasts depend on historical data. When the trend is outside historical averages, the estimates will be conservative. That's why the weather channel was systematically underestimating the following week's temps this March by 2-4 degrees each day.