Monday, 5 January 2009 - Monthly Climate Summary for Northern Territory - Product code IDCKGC12R0

December 2008 in the Northern Territory early monsoon

Summary

Whole of Territory averages

  • Maximum Temp: 36.2°C, 0.6°C below average
  • Minimum Temp: 24.3°C, 0.4°C above average
  • Rainfall: 117.1 mm, 43.7 mm above average.

After a torrid build-up with above average temperatures, the western Top End saw a relatively early onset to the north-Australian monsoon, as Tropical Cyclone Billy formed in the Joseph Boneparte Gulf on the 18th. This system brought heavy rainfall to the Top End’s west coast as it intensified to a category 2 cyclone, before making landfall on the WA coast just to the north of Wyndham on the 19th. Darwin recorded 26 rain days for the month of December, the most number of December rain days recorded since 1957.
                        
Another low-pressure system formed in the Gulf of Carpentaria late in December, which brought some heavy rains to much of the remainder of the Top End. Some heavy rain was also recorded in the Gulf Country and northern Barkly district late in the month. Thunderstorm activity was prevalent in southern parts early in the month, giving southern half of the Alice Springs district above average falls, following on from record falls experienced in the region in November.

Most of the Territory saw cooler days than average, except for the lower rainfall regions of the Barkly and Tanami. Night-time temperatures were near-to-above average over most of the Territory.

Rainfall

The wettest overall was 1126.5 mm at Roper River Mataranka, followed by 869.8 mm at Geriatric Park, followed by 665.9 mm at Channel Point.

Some sites had their highest total December rainfall on record.

Some sites had their lowest total December rainfall on record.

The wettest single day 286.0 mm at Roper River Mataranka on the 30th, followed by 262.5 mm at Roper River Mataranka on the 29th, followed by 231.4 mm at Bradshaw AWS on the 25th.

Maximum temperature

The hottest day was 43.5°C at Walungurru AWS on the 2nd, followed by 43.4°C at Jervois on the 4th, followed by 43.1°C at Rabbit Flat on the 3rd and Brunette Downs on the 5th.

The warmest days on average were 39.3°C at Rabbit Flat, followed by 38.7°C at Elliott, followed by 38.4°C at Brunette Downs.

The coolest days on average were 31.8°C at McCluer Island AWS, followed by 31.8°C at Point Fawcett AWS, followed by 31.9°C at Dum In Mirrie AWS, followed by 32.0°C at Black Point and Central Arnhem Plateau AWS.

The coldest day was 24.7°C at Kulgera on the 6th, followed by 24.9°C at Arltunga on the 6th, followed by 25.0°C at Watarrka on the 5th.

Minimum temperature

The coldest nights were 11.8°C at Arltunga on the 15th and 16th, followed by 12.4°C at Kulgera on the 19th, followed by 13.0°C at Kulgera on the 14th.

The coolest nights on average were 20.9°C at Alice Springs Airport, followed by 21.3°C at Yuendumu, followed by 21.7°C at Curtin Springs.

The warmest nights on average were 27.4°C at Centre Island AWS.

The warmest night was 30.0°C at Centre Island AWS on the 11th, followed by 29.9°C at Ngayawili AWS on the 11th, followed by 29.7°C at Ngayawili AWS on the 10th, followed by 29.7°C at Dum In Mirrie AWS on the 11th.

Some sites had their highest December mean daily minimum temperature on record.

Further information

NT Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (08) 8920 3813
Email climate.nt@bom.gov.au

Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
43.5°C at Walungurru AWS on the 2nd
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
39.3°C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
31.8°C at McCluer Island AWS and Point Fawcett AWS
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature
24.7°C at Kulgera on the 6th
Coldest night
Lowest temperature
11.8°C at Arltunga on the 15th and 16th
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
20.9°C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
27.4°C at Centre Island AWS
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
30.0°C at Centre Island AWS on the 11th
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
1126.5 mm at Roper River Mataranka
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
286.0 mm at Roper River Mataranka on the 30th

Records

Record highest December daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall (mm) Previous highest Years of
record
Mataranka Homestead Resort 156.0 on the 24th 128.3 on the 18th in 1956 60
The Garden 129.0 on the 11th 80.0 on the 18th in 1975 52
Bullita 214.0 on the 25th 165.1 on the 28th in 1929 37
Gove Airport 140.6 on the 23rd 111.8 on the 1st in 1999 32
Timber Creek 109.8 on the 25th 96.2 on the 25th in 2007 26
Yirrkala Tropical Gardens 136.0 on the 23rd 110.0 on the 15th in 2006 25
Litchfield 137.0 on the 20th 126.2 on the 18th in 1980 19
Watarrka 41.8 on the 6th 38.2 on the 17th in 1999 17

Record highest total December rainfall
Total rainfall (mm) Previous highest Years of
record
Average
Mataranka Homestead Resort 626.8 396.7 in 1956 64 142.2
Mango Farm 524.4 446.1 in 2000 27 229.3
Timber Creek 370.5 308.5 in 2005 27 167.0
Litchfield 586.8 532.4 in 1987 19 228.6
Channel Point 665.9 534.6 in 2000 18 292.1



Record highest December mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature (°C)
Previous highest Years of
record
Average for
December
Brunette Downs 25.8 = 25.8 in 2005 43 24.3
Douglas River 24.5 24.4 in 2004 15 23.5



Summaries

This table is very wide and may not fit if printed.

Summary statistics for December 2008
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean Diff
from
average
Highest Mean Diff
from
average
Lowest Total Rank Fraction of
December
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero AWS 32.8 −1.0 36.6 6th 24.4 +0.4 22.7 30th 361.4 high 149%
Black Point 32.0 −0.4 33.7 4th 25.9 −0.3 23.7 16th 334.2 high 165%
Bradshaw AWS 34.9   40.1 6th 25.4   23.4 15th 508.6
Central Arnhem Plateau AWS 32.0   36.2 3rd 23.3   20.9 30th 351.6
Darwin Airport 32.2 −0.4 34.8 6th 25.3 0.0 23.4 30th 325.8 high 135%
Delamere Weapons Range AWS 34.7 −1.0 39.4 6th 24.7 +0.2 20.8 29th 189.2 average 104%
Douglas River 33.8 −1.3 37.8 3rd 24.5 +1.0 22.8 15th 251.0 high 128%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 31.9   33.8 7th 26.2   23.4 30th 595.8 highest 228%
Jabiru Airport AWS 34.0 −1.0 37.3 3rd 25.1 +0.3 22.8 30th 286.2 high 131%
Katherine Aviation Museum 34.5 −1.6 40.0 3rd 24.3 −0.3 22.4 16th 398.9 very high 192%
Mango Farm 33.5 −1.4 38.0 5th 23.6 −0.2 21.0 20th 524.4 highest 229%
McCluer Island AWS 31.8   34.9 9th 26.8   23.5 17th 321.0 high 158%
Middle Point AWS 33.7   37.1 3rd 24.2   22.4 11th 331.2
Noonamah AWS 33.3   36.6 3rd 24.7   23.1 9th 359.8
Oenpelli 33.8 −1.1 37.0 13th 24.9 +0.4 23.1 30th 268.1 high 119%
Pine Creek Council 33.7   37.2 3rd 24.3   21.9 15th 305.8
Point Fawcett AWS 31.8 −0.6 33.8 2nd 25.5 −0.2 23.3 4th 656.8 very high 239%
Tindal RAAF AWS 34.4 −1.2 39.8 3rd 24.9 +0.1 22.7 25th 291.4 high 149%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 32.9 −1.0 36.3 10th 26.5 +0.3 23.5 23rd 303.4 high 188%
Gove Airport 32.7 −0.2 35.4 10th 24.8 +0.2 22.8 26th 302.4 high 172%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 33.7   37.5 10th 25.3   23.3 26th 498.2
Maningrida Aero AWS 32.2   35.0 28th 25.6   23.9 30th 165.6
Milingimbi AWS 33.2   35.7 11th 25.9   23.2 22nd 196.2
Ngayawili AWS 32.4   34.6 14th 25.7   23.4 16th 290.8
Warruwi AWS 32.2 −0.9 35.1 28th 26.0 −0.3 23.7 30th 278.6 high 148%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola AWS 36.1 −0.3 41.0 10th 25.4 +0.1 23.2 2nd 106.2 average 76%
Bulman AWS 36.9   40.9 10th 24.2   22.1 5th 341.8
Centre Island AWS 34.6 0.0 38.3 16th 27.4 +0.1 24.3 31st 156.8 high 127%
Daly Waters AWS 35.7 −1.6 39.8 3rd 23.7 −0.5 19.7 15th 147.0 high 144%
Larrimah 34.7 −2.1 39.5 3rd 23.9 −0.6 22.0 22nd 174.0 high 129%
McArthur River Mine 37.3 −0.5 42.0 10th 26.2 +1.3 23.2 21st 134.8 average 109%
Wollogorang 36.7 −0.1 40.4 26th 24.5 +0.3 21.1 16th 79.7 low 48%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 35.9 −1.5 41.5 6th 25.2 −0.2 22.5 15th 335.8 very high 250%
Lajamanu AWS 37.9 −0.1 41.7 6th 24.8 +0.7 18.9 16th 26.6 low 35%
Timber Creek 35.1 −2.1 40.3 6th 24.8 −0.7 22.5 29th 370.5 highest 222%
Victoria River Downs 36.2 −1.6 42.1 6th 25.3 +0.2 21.0 15th 129.2 average 110%
Wave Hill 36.1 −2.1 41.1 6th 25.1 +0.6 22.0 20th 137.5 high 119%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 38.4 −0.1 43.1 5th 25.8 +1.5 22.9 15th 103.2 high 153%
Elliott 38.7 0.0 42.9 7th 24.8 +0.4 22.9 15th 129.8 high 140%
Tennant Creek Airport 37.5 +0.2 41.7 6th 25.7 +0.8 20.9 15th 35.6 average 51%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 34.6 −0.7 40.9 3rd 20.9 +0.7 13.1 15th 55.8 high 149%
Curtin Springs 34.6 −1.7 41.4 3rd 21.7 +1.3 13.8 14th 54.5 high 184%
Jervois 37.3 −0.5 43.4 4th 22.3 +1.1 14.0 15th 56.6 high 145%
Papunya 35.2   41.6 23rd 22.0   15.6 15th 76.7 very high 244%
Rabbit Flat 39.3 +0.9 43.1 3rd 24.3 +0.5 16.5 16th 11.8 low 14%
Territory Grape Farm AWS 36.4 +0.1 41.2 3rd 22.5 +1.7 15.3 14th 29.2 average 60%
Walungurru AWS 37.0   43.5 2nd     17.9 13th 32.8
Watarrka 34.3 −2.1 40.5 3rd 22.0 0.0 14.4 14th 94.6 very high 276%
Yuendumu 35.8 −0.4 40.6 3rd 21.3 −0.2 16.4 14th 103.4 high 219%
Yulara Aero AWS 34.9 −1.5 41.3 3rd 22.0 +1.4 14.8 13th 70.2 high 172%

Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11 am on Monday 5 January 2009. 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 2006. 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

NT Climate Services Centre
Bureau of Meteorology
Phone (08) 8920 3813
Email climate.nt@bom.gov.au