Northern Territory in August 2011: Warm days and cool nights

Although night-time temperatures remained below average across most of the Northern Territory, daytime temperatures have continued on a slight warming trend following July 2011.

  • On 29 August, Darwin Aiport maximum temperature of 34.8 °C is the warmest day so far for 2011
  • Fog was observed at Darwin Airport on five days in August, while the average is two
  • Below average rainfall across the northeast and southern districts

Darwin days warm up

After a year of cool tempererature across the Top End, July was the first month since October 2010 that Darwin Airport measured above average mean maximum temperatures. This trend has continued throughout August with Darwin Airport registering it's warmest day for 2011. Moreover, Darwin's mean maximum temperature of 33.5 °C across the last seven days of the month is the second warmest end to August on record after last year's 33.7 °C, over the same period. A total of 13 fire ban days were issued for the Northern and Katherine Fire Protection Zones during August.

Very dry across the Alice Spring District

Even though the June to September period is the driest time of the year for the southern districts, on average the southern NT receives 10.0 mm of rain from ocassional frontal passages during August. However, a lack of strong cold fronts penetrating north from southern latitudes left most of the rain gauges at 0.0 mm for the month.

Unusually foggy in Darwin

Fog is no stranger to Darwin, as on average the airport experiences six foggy mornings during the Dry Season, two of which usually occur in August. August 2011 saw well above the average with five days bringing the 2011 Dry Season tally to seven. The highest number of foggy days ever recorded at Darwin Airport during the Dry Season is 11, back in 1961.

Rainfall

The area average rainfall across the Northern Territory was 0.06 mm, which is 4.34 mm short of the norm. Although August is in essence a dry month, August 2011 was drier than normal due to the lack of strong fronts sweeping across the southern districts. Brief, isolated showers loomed across the Top End earlier in the month and some were reported across the Greater Darwin Region, but these failed to register in the rain gauges.

The wettest overall was Cape Wessel with 8.0 mm, followed by Alyangula Police with 6.0 mm, and then Bond Springs with 4.0 mm.

The wettest single day was at Alyangula Police with 6.0 mm on the 5th, followed by Cape Wessel with 5.0 mm on the 8th, and then Bond Springs with 4.0 mm on the 14th.

Temperature

The lack of cloud cover across the Territory maintained above average daytime temperatures and below average night-time temperatures. Territory-wide, the mean maximum temperature was 28.95 °C, the 9th warmest August on record. On the other hand, the mean minimum temperature was 11.29 °C, the 14th coolest. When combining both the maximum and minimum temperature, however, the Territory was just 0.08 °C below the norm.

The warmest on average was Cape Don with 26.3 °C, followed by Jabiru Airport with 26.0 °C. The coolest on average was Arltunga with 13.6 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 15.1 °C.

One site had their lowest August mean temperature on record.

Maximum temperature

With a mean maximum temperature of 29.4 °C, Gove recorded it's 3rd warmest August when it comes to daytime temperatures. Further south, Alice Springs managed to reach 32.1 °C on 30 August, their warmest day since 19 March. With a mean maximum temperature of 25.4 °C, Alice Springs had their 4th warmest August on record.

The hottest day was at Noonamah with 37.5 °C on the 30th, followed by Middle Point with 37.3 °C on the 29th, and then Noonamah again with 37.2 °C on the 29th.

The warmest days on average were at Noonamah with 34.0 °C, followed by Middle Point with 33.6 °C, and then Jabiru Airport with 33.5 °C.

The coolest days on average were at Arltunga with 24.2 °C, followed by Kulgera with 24.6 °C, and then Yulara with 25.1 °C.

The coldest day was at Arltunga with 18.3 °C on the 18th, followed by Kulgera with 19.0 °C on the 17th, and again Kulgera with 19.2 °C on the 18th.

Port Keats Aero measured their highest August temperature on record and their highest August mean daily maximum temperature on record.

Minimum temperature

Across the Top End, cool nights continued with Darwin dipping below 20.0 °C on 23 occasions. In the northeast, Gove recorded a mean minimum temperature of 17.2 °C, their second coolest August on record. Although temperatures in Alice Springs tend to drop below 2.0 °C seven times in August, only two nights dropped below that mark this August, none of which dipped below the freezing point. Nonetheless, Alice Springs managed to record a minimum average of 5.1 °C, which is slightly below the long term average.

The coldest night was at Arltunga with -2.3 °C on the 19th, followed by Arltunga with -1.4 °C on the 11th, and again Arltunga with 0.1 °C on the 22nd.

The coolest nights on average were at Arltunga with 2.9 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 5.1 °C, and then Yulara with 5.4 °C.

The warmest nights on average were at McCluer Island with 22.8 °C, followed by Cape Don with 22.6 °C, and then North East Island with 21.6 °C.

The warmest night was at McCluer Island with 24.1 °C on the 16th, followed by McCluer Island with 24.0 °C on the 18th.

Three sites had their lowest August mean daily minimum temperature on record.

Wind

A quasi-permanent ridge over central Australia maintained a tight pressure gradient across the Northern Territory, leading to dry and gusty east to southeasterly winds throughout August. The strongest wind gust was 63 km/h at Central Arnhem Plateau on the 22nd and Bradshaw on the 23rd, followed by Jabiru Airport with 61 km/h on the 23rd, and by Central Arnhem Plateau and Point Fawcett both with 61 km/h on the 24th.

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Extremes in August 2011
Hottest day 37.5 °C at Noonamah on the 30th
Warmest days on average 34.0 °C at Noonamah
Coolest days on average 24.2 °C at Arltunga
Coldest day 18.3 °C at Arltunga on the 18th
Coldest night -2.3 °C at Arltunga on the 19th
Coolest nights on average 2.9 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 22.8 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 24.1 °C at McCluer Island on the 16th
Warmest on average overall 26.3 °C at Cape Don
Coolest on average overall 13.6 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 8.0 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 6.0 mm at Alyangula Police on the 5th
Highest wind gust 63 km/h at Central Arnhem Plateau on the 22nd
63 km/h at Bradshaw on the 23rd



Record highest August temperature
Highest temperature
in August 2011 (°C)
Previous warmest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Port Keats 36.3 on the 30th 36.1 on the 19th in 2009 11 31.8



Record highest August mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for August 2011 (°C)
Previous warmest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Port Keats 32.5 = 32.5 in 2001 11 31.8



Record lowest August mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for August 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Daly Waters 9.4 = 9.4 in 2001 40 13.1
Point Fawcett 16.1 16.6 in 2006 12 19.0
Ngayawili 18.3 = 18.3 in 2004 10 19.2



Record lowest August mean temperature
Mean daily
temperature
for August 2011 (°C)
Previous coolest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Point Fawcett 23.3 = 23.3 in 2006 12 24.8


Summary statistics for August 2011
Maximum temperatures
for August
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for August
(°C)
Rainfall
for August
(millimetres)
Mean for
August
2011
Diff
from
average
Highest for
August
2011
Mean for
August
2011
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
August
2011
Total for
August
2011
Average
for
August
Rank of
August
2011
Fraction of
August
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor 32.6 -0.7 36.2 29th 16.2 -0.9 12.7 23rd 0 2.8 lowest 0%
Black Point 30.1 -0.3 33.1 28th 20.8 -0.6 18.8 25th 0 1.4 lowest 0%
Bradshaw 33.1 -0.3 36.3 29th 16.1 -0.4 11.8 25th 0 0.1 lowest 0%
Cape Don 30.1   31.0 6th 22.6   21.5 25th 0 1.2 lowest 0%
Central Arnhem Plateau 30.2   33.0 29th 14.8   11.5 24th 0
Channel Point 29.9 +0.4 34.0 30th 17.0 -1.1 14.5 15th 0 5.6 lowest 0%
Darwin Airport 31.8 +0.5 34.8 29th 18.7 -1.7 16.3 22nd 0 5.2 lowest 0%
Delamere Weapons Range 30.9 -0.7 34.3 29th 14.8 -1.1 11.8 2nd 0 0 highest
Douglas River 33.0 -0.5 36.3 29th 13.4 -0.8 8.6 16th 0 1.3 lowest 0%
Dum In Mirrie     33.0 14th 18.1 -1.2 14.5 22nd 0 3.7 lowest 0%
Jabiru Airport 33.5 -0.2 36.8 29th 18.5 -0.6 14.9 22nd 0 2.2 lowest 0%
Katherine Aviation Museum 31.4 -1.0 34.4 29th 13.2 -1.4 8.5 22nd 0 1.8 lowest 0%
Mango Farm 32.7 -0.7 36.0 30th 14.0 -1.9 10.0 24th 0 2.3 lowest 0%
McCluer Island 27.3 -0.5 29.3 28th 22.8 -0.4 20.9 12th 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Middle Point 33.6   37.3 29th 13.8   8.8 22nd 0
Noonamah 34.0   37.5 30th 14.5   9.9 24th 0
Pirlangimpi 32.2 +0.3 35.1 30th 18.6 -0.5 16.6 25th 0 6.9 lowest 0%
Point Fawcett 30.6 -0.1 32.8 30th 16.1 -2.9 12.9 25th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
Point Stuart 31.2   33.7 29th 17.7   14.8 22nd 0
Port Keats 32.5 +0.7 36.3 30th 16.6 -0.9 12.9 2nd 0.2 0.3 average 67%
Tindal RAAF 31.9 -0.2 34.9 29th 14.1 -1.3 9.9 24th 0 1.4 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 28.7 -0.3 31.6 29th 17.6 -0.5 14.6 17th 6.0 1.6 high 375%
Gove Airport 29.3 +0.8 31.2 28th 17.2 -2.0 13.1 11th 2.2 5.9 average 37%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 30.2 +0.1 33.1 27th 14.2 -0.8 10.3 15th 0.4 1.1 average 36%
Maningrida Aero 31.4   35.4 30th 16.7   13.2 15th 0
Milingimbi 31.1   34.6 30th 18.0   14.3 21st 0
Ngayawili 30.4 +0.1 33.8 29th 18.3 -0.9 13.0 24th 0.2 1.5 lowest 13%
North East Island 27.2   28.4 28th 21.6   19.7 10th 1.8 1.2 high 150%
Warruwi 29.4 +0.2 32.1 29th 20.9 -0.8 17.2 24th 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 31.5 -0.2 35.7 29th 11.9 -1.7 7.1 20th 0.4 0.8 average 50%
Bulman 32.3   35.0 29th 13.3   8.7 22nd 0
Centre Island 28.2 +0.5 30.9 28th 19.2 -0.3 17.2 20th 0.2 1.6 average 13%
Daly Waters 31.3 +0.3 34.4 29th 9.4 -3.7 6.0 16th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
Larrimah 31.2 -0.6 34.5 29th 11.3 -2.9 5.0 20th 0 0.7 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine 32.1 +0.2 36.2 29th 12.3 -1.1 7.2 20th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
Ngukurr 31.7 -0.2 34.4 27th     12.5 20th 0.2 0.7 high 29%
Wollogorang 31.0 -0.1 34.7 27th 10.9 -1.3 5.4 19th 0 0.7 lowest 0%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu 29.8 +0.2 32.7 30th 8.6 -2.6 4.8 20th 0.2 0.8 high 25%
Timber Creek 32.7 -0.2 35.4 29th 14.3 -1.6 9.2 16th 0 0.2 lowest 0%
Victoria River Downs 31.8 -0.1 34.3 29th 10.7 -2.6 5.6 20th 0 1.0 lowest 0%
Wave Hill 30.4 -0.8 33.0 30th 11.0 -1.8 4.0 20th 0 1.0 lowest 0%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 29.3 -0.3 31.4 29th 11.8 -0.7 7.4 20th 0 1.4 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 27.4 -0.1 30.1 29th 13.4 -1.1 10.5 18th 0.2 1.7 high 12%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 25.2 +2.6 32.1 30th 5.1 -0.9 0.7 19th 0 9.3 lowest 0%
Arltunga 24.2   29.7 16th 2.9   -2.3 19th 0 6.6 lowest 0%
Curtin Springs 25.8 +2.8 30.0 30th 6.0 +0.4 2.3 18th 0 8.3 lowest 0%
Jervois 25.8 +0.7 30.2 16th 6.9 -0.2 2.6 19th 0 8.0 lowest 0%
Kulgera 24.6 +2.6 29.9 30th 6.2 -0.6 1.5 18th 0 9.2 lowest 0%
Papunya 26.6   30.6 16th 9.1   5.3 19th 0 5.9 lowest 0%
Rabbit Flat 29.2 -0.3 33.1 16th 6.6 -2.0 2.4 20th 0 0.7 lowest 0%
Territory Grape Farm 26.6 +1.3 30.8 16th 5.5 -1.7 1.1 11th 0 4.0 lowest 0%
Walungurru 27.9   31.9 30th 12.8   6.5 17th 0
Yuendumu 26.7 +1.6 30.5 16th 8.4 -0.1 4.9 29th 0 7.6 lowest 0%
Yulara 25.1 +1.6 29.5 29th 5.4 -0.6 0.9 18th 0 4.1 lowest 0%

Notes

A Monthly 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 8 am on Thursday 1 September 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
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries