Wednesday, 6 January 2015 - Annual Climate Summary for Northern Territory - Product code IDCKGC52R0
Northern Territory in 2015: Warm days, many months of below average rainfall
Very warm maximum temperatures and average minimum temperatures were experienced during 2015. Rainfall overall was slightly above average, however many months had below average rainfall. The year was characterised by:
- average to above average rain overall
- wettest December on record
- well above average rain in January
- above average maximum temperatures in most areas in most months
- average to below average minimum temperatures over most parts
- two tropical cyclones for the north coast.
The Northern Territory recorded warmer than normal temperatures during 2015, with the territory-wide average temperature marginally warmer than the historical average. During most months, much of the Territory experienced above average maximum temperatures. The standout months were March, October and November when large swathes of the Territory saw highest on record mean daily maximum temperatures. Heatwave conditions affected central Australia during March 2015, when the 5th highest March mean maximum temperature and 7th highest March mean temperatures were recorded in the NT. During October, the 2nd warmest October on record for the NT, several locations in the southern NT set new mean daily maximum temperature records. It was the Top End's turn in November when several sites broke the record for mean daily maximum temperatures, including Darwin Airport. Territory-wide, November had the 4th highest mean and maximum daily temperatures on record. While April and September saw parts of the NT recording below average mean daily maximums, it was only during January (lowest since 1984) and December that widespread below average mean maximum temperatures were recorded — primarily due to extensive rainfall across the Territory.
Mean minimum temperatures varied significantly from month to month. The most significant departures from average occurred in March, October and November when several sites in the southern Territory, and Borroloola, set records for highest mean daily minimum temperature; Yulara Airport exceeded its previous record in both October and November. The mean minimum temperature during November was the 8th highest recorded during any November in the NT. The mean minimum temperature during January was the lowest since 1992.
The area-average rainfall total for the Northern Territory in 2015 was 630 mm, 17% above the long term average. Most of the year's rainfall came during January (4th wettest January on record) and December (wettest December on record). In both months, it was an active monsoon period which was responsible for the extensive rainfall. Heavy rain fell over northern parts during the first two weeks of January. Also during January, a combination of surface and mid-level weather features brought significant rainfall to the Red Centre. Tropical moisture drawn into the southern half of the NT delivered 200-300% of the long term average January rainfall to many central Australian locations from the 7th to the 12th. Many sites territory-wide recorded their highest January daily and monthly total rainfall. During December, nearly all locations in the Territory received above average rainfall and a significant proportion of the northern half of the NT experienced record monthly rainfall. Many sites had record December daily and monthly totals, with some sites having their highest daily rainfall on record. The tropical moisture also found its way to southern parts of the Territory, generating heavy falls at several locations across the eastern NT and causing localised flooding.
Unseasonable rainfall occurred over parts of the Territory during June and August. At the start of June, an easterly trough generated heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms over the northern Arnhem District; several locations received their highest June daily rainfall on record. In the middle of the month an unusual winter thunderstorms generated heavy rain and widespread hail drifts over the Alice Springs region. A cloudband of tropical origin generated widespread rainfall over central NT towards the end of August; Tennant Creek Airport received its highest August daily rainfall on the 26th and its highest August total rainfall. The wet season started very slowly in the NT with below average rainfall during October and November; November rainfall was the lowest since 2009. During the second half of December rainfall increased markedly as an active monsoon trough established over the Top End. Moisture was drawn over much of the Territory leading to widespread falls through most parts.
Notable events in 2015
Tropical Cyclones and Lows
- Tropical low (05U) moved from the northern Kimberley region of Western Australia to central western parts of the Territory on 10 January, producing widespread rainfall over the Lasseter and Tanami districts.
- Lam crossed the northeast coast, east of Milingimbi, on 20 February as a category 4 severe tropical cylcone. Lam was the first severe tropical cyclone to affect the NT since Monica in 2006. Lam generated heavy rainfall over parts of the Arnhem, Carpentaria, Daly and Gregory districts, causing moderate flooding of the Waterhouse River.
- Nathan made three landfalls on the NT north coast during March, after earlier crossing the Queensland coast just north of Cooktown. Nathan first crossed south of Nhulunbuy early on 22 March as a category 2 system, before impacting Elcho Island at similar intensity later that day. It had weakened to category 1 by the time it made landfall between Maningrida and Goulburn Island on 24 March. Many parts of the Top End were affected by heavy rainfall and flooding.
- A tropical low which developed over the Carpentaria District, moved across the Top End to the northwestern NT and then back to the Carpentaria District, generated heavy rainfall and localised flooding, particularly over the Daly River region. Unofficial observations at Gourley (southeast of Daly River township) recorded 339 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am on 25 December and 618 mm in the 48 hours to 9 am on 26 December.
Thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and strong winds
- Heavy rain fell at Gunn Point on 23 January with 117 mm in one hour to 3:30 pm.
- A severe thunderstorm affected the Darwin region on 28 February, with flash flooding reported due to rainfall of 79.6 mm in 40 minutes at Marrara. Rapid Creek rose to minor flood level as a result, and Bagot Road was cut near the overpass.
- Unseasonable thunderstorms over the Alice Springs region on 13 June produced heavy falls of hail up to 2 cm in diameter. Several areas reported large hail drifts persisting for many hours after the thunderstorms had passed.
- Severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and large hail affected the Simpson, Lasseter and Tanami districts on 3 November. A gust of 120 km/h was recorded at Rabbit Flat at 9:40 pm.
- Severe thunderstorms affected the Gregory, Carpentaria and southern Daly districts on 14 November. Widespread damaging winds were reported with media accounts of "hundreds" of large trees felled around Katherine. Delamere recorded a wind gust of 96 km/h during the afternoon.
- Two houses were destroyed in Howard Springs due to fires fanned by strong winds on 9 September.
- Fires at a number of locations around Darwin burned cars and a caravan on 11 September.
- Blazes over central Australia affected Tennant Creek and the West MacDonnell ranges near Alice Springs during November.
|Extremes in 2015|
|Hottest day||44.1 °C at Yulara Airport on 5 Dec|
|Warmest days on average||35.9 °C at Bradshaw|
|Coolest days on average||28.4 °C at Arltunga|
|Coldest day||13.2 °C at Kulgera on 25 Jul|
-5.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport on 20 Jul|
-5.0 °C at Arltunga on 20 Jul
|Coolest nights on average||12.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport|
|Warmest nights on average||25.5 °C at McCluer Island|
|Warmest night||30.4 °C at Tennant Creek Airport on 29 Nov|
|Warmest on average overall||
28.9 °C at Bradshaw|
28.9 °C at Jabiru Airport
|Coolest on average overall||20.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport|
|Wettest overall||2194.8 mm at Territory Wildlife Park|
|Driest overall||91.8 mm at Central Arnhem Plateau|
|Wettest day||283.8 mm at Bradshaw on 26 Dec|
|Strongest wind gust||174 km/h at Ngayawili on 19 Feb|
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|Rainfall rank||Maximum temperature rank||Minimum temperature rank|
Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window
|Record highest daily rainfall|
|Old Delamere||162.6||on 26 Dec||=162.6||on 18 Dec 1928||55|
|Douglas River||244.4||on 26 Dec||212.0||on 1 Feb 2014||47|
|Eva Downs||196.0||on 29 Dec||150.1||on 7 Feb 1969||44|
|Mango Farm||236.0||on 26 Dec||230.2||on 18 Feb 2011||36|
|Moroak||185.0||on 20 Feb||108.0||on 24 Dec 2010||25|
|Bonalbo||230.0||on 26 Dec||192.4||on 3 Mar 2000||20|
|Highest annual total rainfall for at least 20 years|
|Alcan Minesite||2083.3||2473.2||in 1975*||1440.3|
* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.
|Record lowest annual total rainfall|
|Yulara Airport||93.2||109.0||in 1996||24||274.6|
|Record highest temperature|
|Gove Airport||38.0||on 10 Nov||= 38.0||on 16 Dec 1967||39||30.7|
|Summary statistics for 2015|
|Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)|
|Batchelor Airport||34.1||+0.4||39.8||18 Nov||21.1||+0.1||11.0||15 Jul||1369.8||1604.8||low||85%|
|Bradshaw||35.9||+0.7||42.0||27 Nov||21.8||+0.2||9.3||15 Jul||1193.4||1053.8||average||113%|
|Central Arnhem Plateau||32.2||37.8||30 Oct||20.2||9.8||18 Aug||91.8||1212.0||v low||8%|
|Charles Point||31.2||36.0||9 Sep||23.7||16.0||19 Jul||1856.0|
|Darwin Airport||32.6||+0.6||36.9||8 Nov||23.1||-0.1||14.8||14 Jul||1647.4||1726.2||average||95%|
|Delamere Weapons Range||34.1||+0.4||41.9||26 Nov||20.6||-0.2||9.1||15 Jul||933.0||881.9||average||106%|
|Dum In Mirrie Airstrip||32.1||+0.4||36.3||9 Sep||23.0||-0.3||12.6||15 Jul||2186.8||1782.8||high||123%|
|Jabiru Airport||35.0||+0.7||41.2||8 Nov||22.9||+0.3||14.3||18 Aug|
|Katherine Country Club||34.8||42.0||26 Nov||20.0||6.8||15 Jul||1152.6|
|McCluer Island||29.9||-0.1||33.6||29 Nov||25.5||+0.1||20.1||14 Jul||1073.8||1176.2||average||91%|
|Middle Point||34.9||+0.6||41.6||8 Nov||20.0||-0.5||5.7||14 Jul||1371.6||1407.1||average||97%|
|Murganella Airstrip||32.8||37.9||15 Nov||21.1||8.7||14 Jul||1221.0|
|Noonamah Airstrip||34.2||39.5||8 Nov||21.6||10.5||19 Jul||1753.8|
|Oenpelli Airport||34.8||41.7||8 Nov||22.1||12.4||19 Aug||1131.8|
|Pirlangimpi Airport||33.7||+1.4||38.4||10 Nov||22.5||+0.3||13.4||19 Jul||1713.6||1996.1||low||86%|
|Point Fawcett||32.4||+0.8||36.3||8 Nov||21.9||-0.8||10.8||19 Jul|
|Point Stuart||32.8||37.4||8 Nov||22.3||11.3||14 Jul||1053.0|
|Port Keats Airport||33.3||+0.4||40.6||11 Nov||10.0||16 May||1719.6||1264.0||high||136%|
|Tindal RAAF||34.6||+0.8||42.2||26 Nov||19.6||-0.9||6.6||14 Jul||1173.4||1104.7||average||106%|
|Arnhem (district 14BC)|
|Cape Wessel||31.6||35.5||10 Dec||25.1||21.4||17 Feb||1616.0||1239.8||average||130%|
|Gove Airport||31.2||+0.5||38.0||10 Nov||22.1||-0.3||13.7||17 Aug||2105.8||1467.7||v high||143%|
|Groote Eylandt Airport||32.4||+0.3||39.9||10 Nov||20.8||+0.1||8.8||18 Jul||928.8||1316.4||low||71%|
|Milingimbi Airport||32.1||0.0||38.7||12 Mar||23.1||+0.2||13.4||14 Jul||1494.4||1078.1||high||139%|
|Warruwi Airport||31.3||+0.1||36.5||8 Nov||24.3||0.0||17.4||14 Jul||1395.2||1142.5||high||122%|
|Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)|
|Bulman||35.1||42.8||9 Nov||20.2||6.9||18 Jul||792.8|
|Centre Island||32.1||+0.9||39.9||1 Feb||23.9||+0.1||15.4||18 Jul||597.6||1036.7||low||58%|
|Daly Waters Airstrip||35.0||+1.1||43.7||10 Nov||17.6||-1.6||3.5||21 Jul||1046.0||676.7||v high||155%|
|McArthur River Mine Airport||35.6||+1.1||43.8||29 Nov||19.8||+0.2||5.3||15 Jul||579.8||766.1||average||76%|
|Ngukurr Airport||35.5||43.7||27 Nov||20.3||5.9||15 Jul||762.4|
|Victoria (district 14F)|
|Lajamanu Airport||34.3||+0.8||43.5||29 Nov||17.9||+0.1||3.5||21 Jul||471.0||510.0||average||92%|
|Victoria River Downs||35.1||+0.7||42.5||29 Nov||19.0||-0.5||3.4||18 Jul||748.7||650.0||average||115%|
|Barkly (district 15A)|
|Tennant Creek Airport||32.1||+0.2||41.9||29 Nov||19.7||-0.1||7.1||17 Jul||683.9||475.1||high||144%|
|Alice Springs (district 15B)|
|Alice Springs Airport||29.2||+0.4||42.5||19 Mar||12.7||-0.5||-5.0||20 Jul||334.0||282.6||high||118%|
|Arltunga||28.4||-0.2||41.6||19 Mar||13.3||0.0||-5.0||20 Jul||429.8||296.8||high||145%|
|Curtin Springs||30.6||+1.0||43.4||2 Nov||14.7||+1.2||-0.8||19 Jul||93.3||235.0||low||40%|
|Rabbit Flat||34.0||+0.4||43.4||20 Nov||15.8||-0.7||-2.5||20 Jul||400.4||481.7||average||83%|
|Territory Grape Farm||31.0||+0.2||42.4||20 Nov||14.2||-0.4||-3.0||20 Jul||340.0||319.9||average||106%|
|Yulara Airport||30.8||+0.8||44.1||5 Dec||14.9||+0.9||0.3||21 Jul||93.2||274.6||lowest||34%|
The Annual climate summary lists 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.
A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.
This statement has been prepared based on information available at 5 pm on Tuesday 5 January 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.
Averages for individual sites are long-term means based on observations from
all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site.
They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, 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
(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.
The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.