Wednesday, 1 April 2009 - Monthly Climate Summary for Northern Territory - Product code IDCKGC22R0

Northern Territory in March 2009
Mostly Hot and Sunny

Summary

Whole of Territory averages …

  • Maximum Temperature: 35.7°C, which was 1.8°C above the long-term average.
  • Minimum Temperature:  22.0°C, which was 0.3°C above the long-term average.
  • Rainfall: 21.9 mm, which was 79.9 mm below the long-term average, and the lowest value since 1991.

During March tropical cyclones formed over the oceans either side of the Australian continent, but as far as the Territory was concerned, the monsoon trough stayed offshore throughout the month. As a consequence, less rain than average was recorded across virtually the whole of the Territory, with more sunny days than usual and hotter day time temperatures.

Darwin

Darwin experienced its 4th driest March on record and driest since 1987, with only 115.6 mm being recorded at the Airport site, compared to the long-term average of 324.7 mm. The lack of rain meant more warm sunny days than usual, and Darwin recorded its 3rd hottest mean maximum temperature, at 33.2°C. The most recent hotter March was in 2002, when the average maximum temperature was 33.3°C. For the wet season rainfall to the end of March, Darwin has recorded 1519.8 mm, close to the long-term average of 1560.3 mm.

Rainfall

Rainfall was less than average virtually throughout the Territory. Much of the southern half received no rain at all, while the lack of monsoon activity in the north led to much below average falls there.

Over the Territory as a whole, the area-averaged rainfall was 21.9 mm, 79.9 mm below the long-term average, and the lowest value since 1991.

The wettest overall was 299.0 mm at Pirlangimpi, followed by 288.6 mm at Ngayawili, followed by 268.8 mm at McCluer Island.

Some sites had their lowest total March rainfall on record.

Some sites had their lowest total March rainfall for at least 20 years.

The wettest single day 73.0 mm at Ngayawili on the 14th, followed by 72.0 mm at Mango Farm on the 1st, followed by 69.8 mm at Pirlangimpi on the 4th.

There is a map of rainfall deciles below.

Maximum temperature

Dry sunny conditions led to above average maximum temperatures this month. In the southern half, temperatures were 1−4°C above average, while in the northern half 0−2°C above average was the norm.

The area-averaged maximum temperature was 35.7°C, which was 1.8°C warmer than the long-term average.

The hottest day was 42.5°C at Walungurru on the 23rd, followed by 42.2°C at Walungurru on the 14th, followed by 42.2°C at Rabbit Flat on the 23rd, followed by 42.1°C at Jervois on the 3rd.

The warmest days on average were 39.3°C at Rabbit Flat, followed by 38.9°C at Walungurru, followed by 38.1°C at Lajamanu.

The coolest days on average were 31.2°C at McCluer Island, followed by 31.7°C at Gove Airport, followed by 31.8°C at Cape Don.

The coldest day was 23.5°C at Kulgera on the 4th, followed by 25.0°C at Curtin Springs on the 4th, followed by 25.0°C at Yulara Aero on the 4th.

Some sites had their highest March temperature on record.

Some sites had their highest March mean daily maximum temperature on record.

There is a map of mean maximum temperatures below. There is a map of maximum temperature anomalies below.

Minimum temperature

Despite the lack of rain, some hot days and windy nights led to extremely warm overnight minimum temperatures in southern parts of the Territory. Alice Springs recorded its hottest March night on record on the 3rd, after equally the previous record on the first. Further north, where windy nights were less of a feature, the drier conditions generally led to cooler nights for most locations except for the northwest Top End.

The area-averaged minimum temperature was 22.0°C, which was 0.3°C above the long-term average.

The coldest night was 12.0°C at Kulgera on the 5th, followed by 12.4°C at Arltunga on the 6th, followed by 12.5°C at Kulgera on the 7th, followed by 12.5°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 18th.

The coolest nights on average were 19.2°C at Curtin Springs, followed by 19.3°C at Kulgera, followed by 19.4°C at Daly Waters AWS, followed by 19.4°C at Yulara Aero.

The warmest nights on average were 27.1°C at Centre Island, followed by 26.5°C at Cape Don.

The warmest night was 29.6°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 3rd, followed by 29.4°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 1st and 29.4°C at Jervois on the 14th.

Some sites had their warmest March night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record.

Some sites had their lowest March mean daily minimum temperature on record.

Wind

The strongest wind gust was 100 km/h at Darwin Airport on the 17th, followed by 76 km/h at Tennant Creek Airport on the 22nd, followed by 76 km/h at Alice Springs Airport on the 25th.

Other Reports

An archive of previous monthly summaries for Northern Territory is also available, as are summaries for other states and many other climate summaries and diagnostics.


Extremes

Hottest day
Highest temperature
42.5°C at Walungurru on the 23rd
42.2°C at Walungurru on the 14th
42.2°C at Rabbit Flat on the 23rd
Warmest days on average
Highest mean daily maximum temperature
39.3°C at Rabbit Flat
38.9°C at Walungurru
38.1°C at Lajamanu
Coolest days on average
Lowest mean daily maximum temperature
31.2°C at McCluer Island
31.7°C at Gove Airport
31.8°C at Cape Don
Coldest day
Lowest daily maximum temperature
23.5°C at Kulgera on the 4th
25.0°C at Curtin Springs on the 4th
25.0°C at Yulara Aero on the 4th
Coldest night
Lowest temperature
12.0°C at Kulgera on the 5th
12.4°C at Arltunga on the 6th
12.5°C at Kulgera on the 7th
12.5°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 18th
Coolest nights on average
Lowest mean daily minimum temperature
19.2°C at Curtin Springs
19.3°C at Kulgera
19.4°C at Daly Waters AWS
19.4°C at Yulara Aero
Warmest nights on average
Highest mean daily minimum temperature
27.8°C at Northern Endeavour
27.1°C at Centre Island
26.5°C at Cape Don
Warmest night
Highest daily minimum temperature
29.6°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 3rd
29.4°C at Alice Springs Airport on the 1st
29.4°C at Jervois on the 14th
Wettest overall
Highest total rainfall
299.0 mm at Pirlangimpi
288.6 mm at Ngayawili
268.8 mm at McCluer Island
Wettest day
Highest daily rainfall
73.0 mm at Ngayawili on the 14th
72.0 mm at Mango Farm on the 1st
69.8 mm at Pirlangimpi on the 4th
Highest wind gust
100 km/h at Darwin Airport on the 17th
76 km/h at Tennant Creek Airport on the 22nd
76 km/h at Alice Springs Airport on the 25th

Maps

Rainfall deciles

Map of Rainfall deciles


Records

Record lowest total March rainfall
Total rainfall
for March 2009 (mm)
Previous lowest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Berrimah Research Farm 66.2 72.4 in 1978 43 352.9
Centre Island 5.6 10.0 in 1987 40 266.9
McArthur River Mine 5.4 13.4 in 1987 37 142.4

Lowest total March rainfall for at least 20 years
Total rainfall
for March 2009 (mm)
Most recent lower
for March
Years since
lower
Average for
March
Victoria River Downs 0.2 0.0 in 1946 60 109.9
Old Delamere 5.2 0.0 in 1938 24 137.8
Darwin Airport 115.6 93.0 in 1987 22 324.7
Elliott 1.0 0.0 in 1987 22 90.5
Howard Springs 85.5 64.6 in 1987 22 381.2
Kidman Springs 14.0 11.0 in 1987 20 134.3
Waterloo 4.2 0.0 in 1987 20 105.2



Record highest March temperature
Highest temperature
in March 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Pirlangimpi 35.2 on the 21st 35.0 on the 30th in 1998 25 31.8



Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for March 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Yuendumu 37.2 37.0 in 1992 40 33.3
Mango Farm 35.4 = 35.4 in 2002 27 33.9
Timber Creek 37.5 = 37.5 in 1990 27 35.4
Pirlangimpi 32.9 32.7 in 1992 25 31.8



Record highest March daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in March 2009 (°C)
Previous highest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Alice Springs Airport 29.6 on the 3rd 29.4 on the 4th in 1951 66 17.5
Jervois 29.4 on the 14th 29.2 on the 17th in 2004 39 19.2



Record lowest March mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for March 2009 (°C)
Previous lowest
for March
Years of
record
Average for
March
Larrimah 19.9 20.5 in 1997 42 22.6
Daly Waters AWS 19.4 20.6 in 1946 38 22.6
Katherine Aviation Museum 21.1 21.5 in 1997 21 23.2
Tindal RAAF 21.0 21.1 in 1997 20 23.1



Summaries

Summary statistics for March 2009
Maximum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for March
(°C)
Rainfall
for March
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2009
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2009
Mean for
March
2009
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2009
Total for
March
2009
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2009
Fraction of
March
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 34.1 +1.3 36.3 22nd 22.3 −1.1 16.0 19th 50.4 250.8 low 20%
Black Point 32.0 +0.6 35.1 19th 26.0 +0.5 22.3 30th 154.4 249.5 average 62%
Bradshaw 37.6   39.5 22nd 23.1   19.0 19th 17.0
Cape Don 31.8   33.7 19th 26.5   22.6 30th 68.4 235.1 very low 29%
Central Arnhem Plateau 34.1   35.8 23rd 22.4   19.4 19th 26.0
Channel Point 32.9 +1.2 34.4 6th 24.9 +0.5 22.4 20th 109.4 390.3 very low 28%
Darwin Airport 33.2 +1.3 34.9 18th 24.8 +0.3 22.2 19th 115.6 324.7 very low 36%
Delamere Weapons Range 35.5 +1.2 37.7 22nd 21.6 −1.6 17.0 19th 10.2 196.1 low 5%
Douglas River 35.0 +1.4 36.6 30th 21.6 −1.5 17.1 19th 81.0 230.4 very low 35%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 32.6   34.6 18th 25.7   20.8 18th 191.6 364.4 low 53%
Jabiru Airport 35.4 +1.9 37.1 23rd 24.5 +0.2 22.1 20th 209.8 323.1 average 65%
Katherine Aviation Museum 35.3 +1.0 38.0 23rd 21.1 −2.1 16.5 19th 10.0 207.9 very low 5%
Mango Farm 35.4 +1.6 37.0 24th 22.8 −0.8 17.6 19th 148.8 215.6 average 69%
McCluer Island 31.2   33.1 19th 26.2   22.7 30th 268.8 229.9 average 117%
Middle Point AWS 34.6   36.9 22nd 23.2   18.9 19th 228.8
Noonamah AWS 34.5   36.4 22nd 23.2   17.9 19th 165.4
Pine Creek Council 34.8   36.3 23rd 22.8   19.5 19th 67.8
Pirlangimpi 32.9 +1.1 35.2 21st 24.0 0.0 20.8 18th 299.0 372.2 average 80%
Port Keats Aero 34.8   37.2 24th 23.5   21.2 29th 96.8
Tindal RAAF 35.4 +1.3 36.9 23rd 21.0 −2.1 16.0 19th 6.4 176.7 very low 4%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 32.3 +0.2 33.8 6th 23.7 −0.9 21.8 27th 191.0 257.4 average 74%
Gove Airport 31.7 +0.5 33.5 7th 23.7 −0.2 21.5 29th 185.2 268.8 average 69%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 33.2   34.9 9th 22.1   19.4 20th 268.2
Maningrida Aero 32.8   36.2 22nd 24.4   21.9 19th 138.2
Milingimbi AWS 33.5   36.3 22nd 24.8   22.4 19th 85.2
Ngayawili 32.2   33.7 6th 24.2   21.8 19th 288.6
Warruwi 32.3 +0.9 34.7 20th 25.3 +0.2 23.3 14th 77.0 240.5 very low 32%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 35.0 +1.6 37.2 22nd 21.4 −2.1 17.5 8th 34.4 156.6 low 22%
Bulman AWS 35.2   36.7 22nd 21.2   17.5 31st 64.2
Centre Island 34.6 +1.7 36.7 19th 27.1 +0.7 25.7 8th 5.6 266.9 lowest 2%
Daly Waters AWS 35.4 +0.8 37.1 23rd 19.4 −3.2 14.3 18th 64.0 110.4 average 58%
Larrimah 35.0 +0.9 37.0 23rd 19.9 −2.7 15.5 8th 47.4 155.7 low 30%
McArthur River Mine 37.3 +2.4 39.2 21st 22.6 −0.7 17.7 8th 5.4 142.4 lowest 4%
Ngukurr 35.9 +1.8 38.3 22nd 23.4 −0.5 21.0 10th 34.8 172.1 low 20%
Wollogorang 35.8 +1.3 37.5 22nd 20.9 −1.9 16.1 8th 5.5 167.0 very low 3%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 36.8 +1.3 39.1 23rd 21.6 −1.8 16.4 20th 14.0 134.3 very low 10%
Lajamanu 38.1 +3.6 41.1 23rd 21.0 −1.1 14.9 19th 0 81.3 lowest 0%
Timber Creek 37.5 +2.1 39.5 24th 21.3 −2.3 16.0 20th 20.8 172.5 very low 12%
Victoria River Downs 36.8 +1.7 38.5 23rd 21.5 −1.7 16.1 20th 0.2 109.9 very low 0%
Wave Hill 36.8 +1.3 39.0 23rd 20.4 −1.8 14.4 20th 46.1 121.5 average 38%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 35.5 −0.2 38.1 22nd 20.6 −1.6 16.0 20th 1.0 90.5 very low 1%
Tennant Creek Airport 36.2 +1.9 39.0 23rd 23.0 −0.2 19.4 19th 0 57.0 lowest 0%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 35.3 +2.6 40.6 3rd 19.7 +2.2 12.5 18th 0.4 31.9 low 1%
Arltunga 34.5   40.2 3rd 19.6   12.4 6th 5.0 38.8 average 13%
Curtin Springs 36.0 +2.3 41.2 23rd 19.2 +0.8 14.0 5th 4.2 28.9 average 15%
Jervois 36.9 +2.2 42.1 3rd 20.8 +1.6 14.3 19th 0 30.6 lowest 0%
Kulgera 34.0 +1.8 42.0 2nd 19.3 +1.3 12.0 5th 20.2 32.7 average 62%
Papunya 37.8   41.3 3rd 21.2   15.1 18th 0 49.3 lowest 0%
Rabbit Flat 39.3 +3.5 42.2 23rd 21.2 −0.4 14.3 18th 10.0 75.1 low 13%
Territory Grape Farm 36.7 +2.4 40.8 3rd 20.5 +0.9 15.0 17th 0 19.4 lowest 0%
Walungurru 38.9   42.5 23rd 24.7   20.4 8th 8.6
Watarrka 36.3 +1.7 40.6 22nd 21.1 +0.4 14.5 7th 2.1 29.4 average 7%
Yuendumu 37.2 +3.9 39.8 3rd 21.2 +1.5 15.0 18th 2.0 46.1 average 4%
Yulara Aero 35.5 +1.0 40.7 23rd 19.4 +0.3 14.0 5th 8.6 33.4 average 26%

Notes

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Wednesday 1 April 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 2007. 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