With a little more than a month to go, 2012 is likely to come in as the warmest year on record for the lower 48 States. Of the past 14 years, 4 have had annual average temperatures that have either set or approached record values. Such warmth over a short time period has not been observed since the 1930s. The cause of the warmth can be attributed to natural climate variability, such as El Nino events, combined with a long-term global warming trend caused by increasing greenhouse emissions.
As a civil engineering student, I take our changing climate as a significant challenge that directly impacts the work we do and the infrastructure we build. Climate change is seen in various ways such as rising global temperatures, more frequent and extreme weather events along with rising sea