Parts of northern China were hit by high temperatures on Thursday that smashed seasonal records, with the city of Shahe hitting 31.8 Celsius (89 Fahrenheit), official data showed.
Besides Shahe, regions such as Gaoyi, Yongnian and Handan, all in Hebei province, surpassed the 30C mark earlier in the year than ever before, as well as experiencing their highest temperatures on record for the first half of March.
"We are witnessing a rapidly warming earth with all the high temperatures recorded today," China's official weather forecaster said on the Weibo social media platform.
More than a dozen major Chinese cities this week recorded record high temperatures for this time of year, with central China's Wuhan and Zhengzhou more than 10C (18F) higher than normal for early March.
Last month, some southern regions also reported the arrival of spring about 20 days earlier than normal, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).
China has warned that it is more vulnerable to climate change than other countries, with extreme weather set to proliferate in coming years.
An overseas study published this year also said that 16 of the 20 global regions most at risk from climate change were in China.
Zhang Xingying, a CMA expert, told media that the increase in average temperatures in China was expected to be significantly higher than global levels, with record-breaking temperatures set to "become a regular occurrence".
"The current extreme high temperature events that happen once every 50 years will happen every one or two years by the end of the 21st century," he told the National Business Daily newspaper in an interview.
In December, the capital, Beijing, introduced regulations curbing projects that use a lot of water after searing heat and prolonged drought last summer led to water and power supply crunches.
The new regulation increases penalties for wasting water, the Beijing Daily reported.