Property distribution and polarization characteristics of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) under cathode starvation conditions were investigated numerically and experimentally for a unit cell. The polarization curves of a lab-scale PEMFC were measured with increasing current density for different cell temperatures (40°C, 50°C, and 60°C) at a relative humidity of 100%. To investigate the local temperature, water content and current density on the membrane, and gas velocity in the channel of the PEMFC, numerical studies using the es-pemfc module of the commercial flow solver STAR-CD, which were matched with experimental data, were conducted. Temperature, current density on the membrane, and water content in the MEA were examined to investigate the effect of cell temperature on performance under the cathode starvation condition. At cathode starvation conditions, the performance of a higher cell temperature condition might drop significantly and the mean temperature on the membrane increase abruptly with increasing cell temperature or current density.