This piece originally appeared on Forbes.
NOAA called it Meteorological March Madness. Other commentators likened it to science fiction. More than 15,000 daily heat records were broken around the U.S. last month, making 2012 the warmest March since records began in 1895.
Not only was the summer-like spring fact not fiction, but such trends may soon become the new normal as climate change takes greater hold. A long-awaited report from the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with input from 220 authors, serves as a stark reminder that the world must brace for more extreme weather and climate events.