Northern Territory in 2010: Third wettest year on record

  • 2010 was the 3rd wettest year on record for the Northern Territory.
  • Alice Springs Airport recorded its 2nd wettest year on record
    • with 75 rain days ranking 2nd highest on record
  • Darwin Airport recorded 151 rain days, highest on record
  • Maximum Temperatures
    • Alice Springs Airport recorded its 2nd coolest year on record
  • Minimum Temperatures
    • Darwin Airport recorded its warmest nights on average since 1998
  • 2010 Dry Season (May–September)
    • Darwin Airport recorded its 2nd warmest mean temperature on record
    • Northern Territory recorded its 2nd wettest on record

Second wettest "Dry Season" on record

Persistent cloud band activity during the Dry Season months contributed to the NT experiencing its second wettest “Dry Season” on record. A rapidly developing La Niņa and very warm ocean temperatures around Northern Australia were most likely the strongest contributors to the wet weather during the middle months of the year.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Paul

The end of the 2009/10 Wet Season provided average to above-average rainfall right across the Territory, with Ex-TC Paul contributing to significant late Wet Season falls in the Gulf Country. The wettest day of the year occurred on 31 March when 442.8mm fell at Bulman as a direct result of Ex-TC Paul.

Cold and Wet in the Alice

Due primarily to persistent cloud band activity during the middle months of the year, Alice Springs Airport recorded its 2nd wettest year on record, with 770.0mm falling 12.5mm short of the record set in 1974. Alice Springs Airport also recorded its 2nd coldest year on record, with an average daytime maximum of 26.7 °C, just 0.1 °C warmer than the record set in 1974. The spring period was particularly cool, with September, October and November all coming in as record cool months for Alice Springs.

Rainfall

2010 will be remembered as a wet year by all Territorians, and the figures support that perception with this year ranking 3rd wettest on record, when considering 110 years of rainfall records.
The end of the 2009/10 Wet Season provided average to above-average rainfall right across the Territory, with Ex-TC Paul contributing to significant late Wet Season falls in the Gulf Country. Further south, the southward movement of a monsoon low at the end of February produced close to a year’s worth of rain in just over a week in many locations through southern NT. The wet weather didn't stop there, mainly due to the development of a strong La Niña during the middle months of the year. Persistent cloud band activity during the Dry Season months contributed to the second wettest “Dry Season” on record for the NT. Come the beginning of the north Australian Wet Season, the rain continued to fall, with very much above average rainfall falling right across the Territory.

The wettest overall was Leanyer with 2467.3 mm, followed by Darwin Hospital with 2425.8 mm, and then The Chase with 2379.6 mm.

The driest overall was Kulgera with 364.8 mm, followed by Yulara Aero with 409.8 mm.

The wettest single day was at Bulman with 442.8 mm falling on 31 March as a result of Ex-TC Paul. The next wettest days were on 1 April at Centre Island with 358.4 mm, followed by Mallapunyah with 282.0 mm on 29 January.

Darwin Airport measured 151 rain days, which breaks the record of 146 rain days in 2000. Alice Springs Airport had the 2nd highest number of rain days with 75, only 11 days short of the record set in 1974.

Temperature

Over the whole year, the mean temperature was generally well above average in the northern half and well below average in the southern half of the NT. Darwin Airport recorded its 2nd warmest year on record, with an average temperature of 28.3 °C , just 0.2 °C short of the record set in 1998.
The end of the 2009/10 Wet Season was a warm one for people in the north, with most of the Top End recording very much above average temperatures (both day and night).
The cool temperatures of the Dry Season never really arrived in the Top End (apart from some cool nights in June), with more than half of the Top End recording its hottest Dry Season on record. Darwin Airport recorded its 2nd hottest Dry Season on record, with an average temperature of 27.5 °C , just 0.1 °C short of the record set in 1998. Whilst the north sweltered, the south was cooler than normal.
Once the wet season rains began in October, conditions returned close to normal in the north (which is climatologically warm at this time of year), and many southern locations (including Alice Springs Airport) had their coolest October – December period on record.

Over the whole year, the warmest location on average was Jabiru Airport with 29.2 °C, followed by Bradshaw with 29.0 °C.

The coolest on average was Alice Springs Airport with 19.7 °C, followed by Curtin Springs with 20.9 °C and then Yulara Aero with 21.1 °C.

Maximum temperature

Over the whole year, the maximum temperature was generally well above average over the Top End and well below average in southern NT. Darwin Airport recorded its equal 5th warmest year on record, with an average maximum temperature of 32.6 °C, just 0.3 °C short of the record set in 1998. It is worth noting that the 5 hottest years at Darwin Airport (over 67 years of records) have all occurred since 1998. At the other end of the spectrum, Alice Springs Airport recorded its 2nd coldest year on record, with an average daytime maximum of 26.7 °C , just 0.1 °C warmer than the record set in 1974.
In terms of daytime temperatures, the end of the 2009/10 Wet Season was very warm for people in the western Top End, with generally average to below average temperatures south of Katherine. This pattern continued through the Dry Season, with Darwin Airport recording its warmest July and September on record.

In a similar fashion to the mean temperatures, the onset of the rainy season in October cooled the place down a bit, with all of the NT recording average to below average daytime temperatures and large areas in southern NT (including Alice Springs Airport) recording their coldest October – December period on record.

The hottest day was on 8 December at Rabbit Flat with a daily maximum temperature of 44.1 °C. The next hottest day occurred at Curtin Springs with the thermometer reaching 43.9 °C on 27 January, this was matched again on 9 December at Rabbit Flat.

The warmest days on average were at Bradshaw with 35.5 °C, followed by Timber Creek with 35.1 °C and then Kidman Springs with 34.8 °C.

The coolest days on average were at Kulgera with 26.6 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 26.7 °C and then Curtin Springs with 27.9 °C.

The coldest day was on 6 July where the daily maximum temperature reached only 6.7 °C at Arltunga, 7.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport and 7.4 °C at Jervois. Also of note, on the 2nd of November Darwin Airport only reached 25.6 °C which came in as the coldest November day on record and the 3rd coldest day for any month in a decade.

Minimum temperature

Over the whole year, minimum temperatures were generally average to above average, with well above average temperatures across the Top End. Darwin Airport recorded its warmest overnight temperatures in 12 years with an average of 23.9 °C , just 0.2 °C short of the record set in 1998.
In terms of overnight minimum temperatures, the end of the 2009/10 Wet Season (January through April) was very warm right across the Territory, with parts of the western Top End recording their warmest January – April period on record. Darwin Airport recorded its 2nd warmest January – April period on record, with an average minimum temperature of 25.2 °C , just 0.1 °C short of the record set in 1983.
The Dry Season continued in the same fashion, with all of the Territory recording above average night-time temperatures and most of the Top End recording its warmest Dry Season on record.
In the same way that the rains cooled down the daytime temperatures, so they did daily minimum temperatures as well. The October – December period saw cooler than normal night-time temperatures extending across nearly all of the NT, with some locations in southern NT recording their coolest October – December period on record.

The coldest night was 15 June, where Alice Springs Airport and Arltunga recorded -2.7 °C. The next coldest nights were again at Arltunga, with -2.4 °C on 7 August, followed by Yulara Aero with -2.0 °C on 3 July.

The coolest nights on average were at Alice Springs Airport with 12.8 °C, followed by Kulgera with 13.7 °C and then Curtin Springs with 13.8 °C.

The warmest nights on average were at Cape Don with 25.8 °C, followed by Warruwi with 25.2 °C.

The warmest night was 30.1 °C at McArthur River Mine on 26 Jan.

Wind

The strongest recorded wind gust was at Darwin Airport with 126 km/h on 27 February, followed by Daly Waters with 98 km/h on 16 November, and then Centre Island with 94 km/h on 31 March.

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Extremes in 2010
Hottest day 44.1 °C at Rabbit Flat on 8 Dec
Warmest days on average35.5 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 26.6 °C at Kulgera
Coldest day 6.7 °C at Arltunga on 6 Jul
Coldest night -2.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport on 15 Jun
-2.7 °C at Arltunga on 15 Jun
Coolest nights on average 12.8 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 25.8 °C at Cape Don
Warmest night 30.1 °C at McArthur River Mine on 26 Jan
Warmest on average overall 29.2 °C at Jabiru Airport
Coolest on average overall 19.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 2467.3 mm at Leanyer
Driest overall 364.8 mm at Kulgera
Wettest day 442.8 mm at Bulman on 31 Mar
Highest wind gust 126 km/h at Darwin Airport on 27 Feb


Record highest annual daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in 2010 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Idracowra 119.0 on 13 Jul 108.0 on 31 Jan 1974 79
Tarlton Downs 123.0 on 28 Feb 120.0 on 7 Jan 2007 42
Mallapunyah 282.0 on 29 Jan 254.0 on 22 Mar 1964 40
Redbank Mine 269.2 on 2 Apr 261.4 on 29 Dec 1997 20
Atula 119.2 on 28 Feb 118.1 on 3 Feb 1979 29
Wallace Rock Hole 109.6 on 9 Jan 88.6 on 12 Feb 2000 24
Territory Grape Farm 111.0 on 7 Jan 110.0 on 7 Feb 1991 23
The Granites 196.0 on 7 Jan 173.9 on 24 Jan 1987 17
Nelson Springs 167.0 on 6 Jan 143.4 on 12 Mar 2006 16
Trephina Gorge 195.4 on 9 Jan 130.0 on 31 Mar 1988 18
Waite River 191.0 on 7 Jan 143.0 on 7 Feb 1998 17
Bing Bong Port 266.0 on 1 Apr 220.0 on 18 Mar 2006 15



Record highest total annual rainfall
Total rainfall
for 2010 (mm)
Previous annual
wettest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Arltunga 1025.1 662.5 in 2001 63 282.3
Jervois 932.8 775.6 in 1976 43 278.3
Centre Island 1794.4 1791.8 in 2000 40 997.8
Atula 869.4 520.6 in 2000 29 251.5
Wollogorang 1953.0 1789.9 in 2006 24 923.1
Wallace Rock Hole 813.0 781.1 in 2000 23 257.8
Territory Grape Farm 750.6 687.0 in 2000 23 300.7
Gemtree Park 729.2 627.6 in 2001 18 324.6




Record lowest annual daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in 2010 (°C)
Previous annual
coolest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Alice Springs Airport 7.0 on 6 Jul = 7.0 on 6 Aug 1966 69 28.7
Jervois 7.4 on 6 Jul 10.0 on 14 Jul 1984 29 31.0



Record highest annual mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for 2010 (°C)
Previous annual
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Pirlangimpi 33.1 32.9 in 2009 21 32.2
Dum In Mirrie 32.2 32.1 in 2005 11 31.6



Record lowest annual mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for 2010 (°C)
Previous annual
coolest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Curtin Springs 27.9 28.3 in 1966 42 29.6
Jervois 28.2 29.5 in 1976 29 31.0
Kulgera 26.6 26.7 in 1989 22 28.4
Yulara Aero 28.1 28.3 in 2001 20 30.1




Record highest annual mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for 2010 (°C)
Previous annual
warmest
Years of
record
Annual
average
Warruwi 25.2 25.0 in 1998 36 24.3
Jabiru Airport 23.9 23.6 in 1998 28 22.5
Pirlangimpi 23.6 22.8 in 2009 21 22.1
McArthur River Mine 21.4 20.9 in 1988 23 19.5
Douglas River 21.3 21.2 in 1998 15 19.8
Dum In Mirrie 24.2 23.8 in 2005 11 23.2


Summary statistics for 2010
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean
for
2010
Diff
from
average
Highest
for
2010
Mean
for
2010
Diff
from
average
Lowest
for
2010
Total
for
2010
Average
annual
total
Rank
of
2010
Fraction
of annual
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 33.5 -0.3 38.3 2 Oct 22.5 +1.5 12.0 5 Jun 1615.8 1590.2 average 102%
Bradshaw 35.5   41.4 4 Oct 22.5   9.8 13 Aug 1424.8
Cape Don 31.8   35.3 6 Dec 25.8   22.0 14 Aug 1632.4 1249.8 v high 131%
Central Arnhem Plateau 31.7   37.6 23 Nov 21.3   10.4 1 Jun 1849.8
Darwin Airport 32.6 +0.6 36.5 24 Oct 23.9 +0.7 16.0 5 Jun 2260.2 1707.9 v high 132%
Douglas River 34.1 -0.2 39.7 4 Oct 21.3 +1.5 8.4 14 Aug
Dum In Mirrie 32.2 +0.6 36.5 2 Oct     15.5 13 Aug 1932.8 1819.8 high 106%
Jabiru Airport 34.5 +0.2 39.0 26 Sep 23.9 +1.4 14.9 5 Jun 1968.6 1532.1 high 128%
Katherine Aviation Museum 33.7 -0.4 39.2 6 Dec 21.4 +1.1 8.3 13 Aug 1316.3 1126.4 high 117%
Mango Farm 34.4 +0.3 39.5 3 Oct 21.4 +0.9 9.6 5 Jun 1545.7 1397.0 average 111%
Middle Point 34.3   38.8 26 Sep 21.7   10.4 5 Jun 1421.4
Noonamah 34.5   38.5 26 Sep 22.4   12.5 8 Aug 2118.2
Pine Creek Council 33.3   38.5 4 Oct 22.4   13.5 14 Aug 1603.2
Pirlangimpi 33.1 +0.9 37.2 26 Sep 23.6 +1.5 15.1 5 Jun 2082.6 2005.8 average 104%
Point Fawcett 31.6 +0.1 33.9 8 Dec 23.4 +0.6 13.9 5 Jun 1921.4 1514.5 high 127%
Tindal RAAF 33.7 -0.1 39.3 6 Dec 21.5 +1.0 9.5 4 Jun 1120.8 1121.8 average 100%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Gove Airport 30.9 +0.3 34.7 20 Feb 23.6 +1.2 17.7 13 Aug 1987.8 1430.0 v high 139%
Groote Eylandt Airport 32.1 0.0 36.8 10 Feb 22.2 +1.6 9.8 13 Aug 1799.2 1354.7 v high 133%
Maningrida Aero 32.5   36.4 6 Nov 23.5   14.1 13 Aug 1760.4
Warruwi 31.9 +0.7 35.4 6 Dec 25.2 +0.9 20.2 5 Jun 1148.0 1147.2 average 100%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 33.2 -0.6 40.5 5 Dec 20.5 +0.8 5.7 13 Aug 1456.4 856.4 high 170%
Bulman 33.8   40.2 5 Dec 21.5   8.4 4 Jun 1883.8
Centre Island 31.2 0.0 38.4 24 Jan 24.3 +0.5 17.2 14 Aug 1794.4 997.8 highest 180%
Daly Waters 33.7 -0.2 40.1 25 Oct 19.9 +0.6 5.9 8 Aug 796.4 648.0 high 123%
Larrimah 33.6 -0.3 40.1 25 Nov 20.2 +0.5 5.1 13 Aug 873.2 843.3 average 104%
McArthur River Mine 34.1 -0.5 40.7 5 Dec 21.4 +1.9 6.1 13 Aug 1219.4 716.8 v high 170%
Wollogorang 32.8 -0.9 40.6 24 Jan 20.0 +1.1 3.3 12 Aug 1953.0 923.1 highest 212%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 34.8 -0.2 41.6 24 Nov 21.7 +1.5 6.5 13 Aug 866.8 745.2 high 116%
Lajamanu 32.6 -1.0 42.0 24 Nov 18.8 +0.9 1.5 13 Aug 842.0 489.3 v high 172%
Timber Creek 35.1 +0.2 41.5 24 Nov 22.2 +1.1 9.0 14 Aug 1039.1 938.1 average 111%
Victoria River Downs 34.3 -0.1 40.9 4 Oct 20.9 +1.3 5.8 12 Aug
Barkly (district 15A)
Tennant Creek Airport 30.7 -1.2 41.0 26 Jan 19.4 -0.4 7.7 7 Aug 820.4 454.3 v high 181%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 26.7 -2.0 41.3 1 Jan 12.8 -0.5 -2.7 15 Jun 770.0 276.4 v high 279%
Curtin Springs 27.9 -1.7 43.9 27 Jan 13.8 +0.4 -0.4 15 Jun 446.2 232.2 v high 192%
Jervois 28.2 -2.8 41.7 1 Jan 15.1 +0.6 1.9 15 Jun 932.8 278.3 highest 335%
Kulgera 26.6 -1.8 43.0 27 Jan 13.7 -0.2 -1.7 2 Jul 364.8 250.1 high 146%
Rabbit Flat 32.5 -1.3 44.1 8 Dec 17.5 +0.9 1.2 13 Aug 522.0 477.2 high 109%
Yulara Aero 28.1 -2.0 43.1 27 Jan 14.1 0.0 -2.0 3 Jul 409.8 269.8 high 152%

Notes

A Annual Climate Summary is prepared to list the main features of the weather in Northern Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review, usually published in the fourth week of the month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Wednesday 5 January 2011. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages are long-term means based on observations from the years 1800 to 2009. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record in that time, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Further information

Media
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