Northern Territory in November 2011: La Niña comes to town

After a pretty average October, La Niña has begun to influence the weather of the Northern Territory, bringing cooler and wetter conditions to most parts.

  • Very wet and cool across most of the NT
  • In contrast, it was hot and dry in Nhulunbuy area

Rainfall

Rainfall was above to well above average during November, with several stations recording their wettest November on record. November saw the consolidation of La Niña in the Pacific Ocean, as well as warming of the oceans around northern Australia. These influences played a major role in producing excess rainfall. The average rainfall across the NT during November was 87.5 mm, well above the monthly average of 39.5 mm. In fact November 2011 ranks 4th wettest on record, and well ahead of November 2010 which recorded only 58.2 mm when averaged across the Territory.

While the western Top End received regular afternoon showers and storms, the bulk of the rainfall that fell through central and southern parts occurred around the middle of the month, when a series of cloud-band events dumped close to 100 mm across a wide region.

The wettest overall was Geriatric Park with 302.4 mm, followed by Point Stuart with 292.8 mm, and then Humpty Doo Fire Station with 286.0 mm.

The wettest single day was at Daly Waters Creek with 129.5 mm on the 20th, followed by Ngukurr with 117.2 mm on the 21st, and then Daly Waters with 116.2 mm on the 20th.

Temperature

Overall, including daytime and night-time temperatures, the Northern Territory was well below average for November, particularly through central parts where the mercury was 1 - 3 °C lower on average. Averaged across the NT, November 2011 was 1.4 °C below normal, and ranks 5th coolest on record behind 1974, 2010 and 1999, which were also La Niña years. The average maximum temperature across the NT was 36.2 °C (1.8 °C below the long-term average), while the average minimum temperature was 22.6 °C (1 °C below the long-term average). A significant contributor to the below average temperatures was the prevalence of cloudiness and rainfall, which is typical for La Niña events.

The warmest on average was Ngukurr with 31.4 °C, followed by Centre Island and Kidman Springs with 30.6 °C, and then Jabiru Airport with 30.4 °C.

The coolest on average was Arltunga with 23.8 °C, followed by Kulgera and Yulara with 24.4 °C, and then Curtin Springs with 25.0 °C.

Maximum temperature

The Northern Territory was much cooler than normal during November, particularly through central parts where maximum temperatures were 2 - 4 °C below normal for the month. The north coast of the Top End and the far southeastern Alice Springs District recorded maximum temperatures closer to average. Overall, the average maximum temperature across the NT was 36.2 °C (1.8 °C below the long-term average). Territory-wide, this ranks as the 5th coolest November on record for maximum temperatures, behind 1974, 1999 and 2010 - all La Niña years.

The hottest day was at Lajamanu with 42.1 °C on the 30th, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 41.9 °C on the 29th, and then Walungurru with 41.5 °C on the 29th.

The warmest days on average were at Ngukurr with 37.4 °C, followed by Kidman Springs with 37.0 °C, and then Lajamanu with 36.9 °C.

The coolest days on average were at Arltunga with 31.7 °C, followed by Kulgera with 32.0 °C, and then Yulara with 32.2 °C.

The coldest day was at Kulgera with 14.7 °C on the 21st, followed by Curtin Springs with 14.9 °C on the 21st, followed by Yulara with 15.3 °C on the 21st.

Some sites had their coolest November day on record. McArthur River Mine recorded its lowest November mean daily maximum temperature on record.

Minimum temperature

Minimum temperatures were generally below average, with parts of the Barkly recording well below average minimum temperatures. Overall, the average minimum temperature was 22.6 °C (1 °C below the long-term average).

The coldest nights were all at Arltunga with 7.3 °C on the 25th, 7.9 °C on the 26th, and 8.3 °C on the 27th.

Not surprisingly, the coolest nights on average were at Arltunga with 15.8 °C, followed by Yulara with 16.6 °C, and then Kulgera with 16.7 °C.

The warmest nights on average were at Cape Don with 26.8 °C, followed by Centre Island with 26.6 °C, and then North East Island with 26.5 °C.

The warmest night was at Dum In Mirrie with 29.1 °C on the 29th, followed by Cape Don with 28.8 °C on the 23rd, and then Warruwi with 28.8 °C on the 28th.

Wind

The strongest wind gust was at Walungurru with 94 km/h on the 14th, caused by a dry microburst from isolated shower activity in the area. Bradshaw recorded a 76 km/h wind gust on the 9th, and Tennant Creek Airport recorded a 70 km/h wind gust on the 13th.

Further information

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Extremes in November 2011
Hottest day 42.1 °C at Lajamanu on the 30th
Warmest days on average 37.4 °C at Ngukurr
Coolest days on average 31.7 °C at Arltunga
Coldest day 14.7 °C at Kulgera on the 21st
Coldest night 7.3 °C at Arltunga on the 25th
Coolest nights on average 15.8 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 26.8 °C at Cape Don
Warmest night 29.1 °C at Dum In Mirrie on the 29th
Warmest on average overall 31.4 °C at Ngukurr
Coolest on average overall 23.8 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 302.4 mm at Geriatric Park
Wettest day 129.5 mm at Daly Waters Creek on the 20th
Highest wind gust 94 km/h at Walungurru on the 14th

 

Record highest total November rainfall
Total rainfall (mm) Previous wettest
for November
Years of
record
Average for
November
Ngukurr 165.0 121.8 in 2008 79 40.8
Curtin Springs 106.2 93.6 in 2008 56 22.5
Elliott 239.0 161.6 in 1981 49 46.2
Daly Waters 246.0 136.6 in 2008 41 42.7
McArthur River Mine 262.6 182.0 in 1999 38 49.8
Hidden Valley 160.8 127.2 in 1973 29 40.3
Suplejack 97.5 90.5 in 2007 27 33.5




Record lowest November daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature (°C)
Previous coolest
for November
Years of
record
Average for
November
Curtin Springs 14.9 on the 21st 16.1 on the 4th in 1975 45 34.4
Daly Waters 25.9 on the 3rd 26.1 on the 2nd in 1955 40 38.2
Kulgera 14.7 on the 21st 16.9 on the 15th in 1983 30 33.4
Yulara 15.3 on the 21st 16.6 on the 14th in 1994 23 35.0
Watarrka 15.9 on the 21st 17.0 on the 4th in 2007 20 35.1



Record lowest November mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature (°C)
Previous coolest
for November
Years of
record
Average for
November
McArthur River Mine 35.8 37.1 in 1970 31 38.7



Summary statistics for November 2011
Maximum temperatures (°C) Minimum temperatures (°C) Rainfall (millimetres)
Mean Diff
from
average
Highest Mean Diff
from
average
Lowest Total Average
for
November
Rank of
November
2011
Fraction of
November
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 34.0 -1.6 36.3 27th 23.8 -0.2 21.3 18th 132.8 131.9 average 101%
Black Point 33.2 +0.1 35.4 27th 25.7 0.0 24.2 5th 48.6 66.2 average 73%
Cape Don 33.1   35.2 27th 26.8   24.0 17th 145.6 95.4 average 153%
Central Arnhem Plateau 33.3   36.7 28th 22.9   20.1 17th 201.6
Darwin Airport 32.9 -0.4 35.8 27th 24.7 -0.7 21.6 7th 153.0 139.0 average 110%
Delamere Weapons Range 35.3 -2.4 38.5 30th 23.7 -1.2 21.0 3rd 104.6 65.2 high 160%
Douglas River 35.1 -1.8 39.0 1st 23.4 -0.1 20.4 5th 173.8 114.8 high 151%
Jabiru Airport 36.1 -0.8 39.1 1st 24.8 -0.1 22.4 18th 161.0 143.5 average 112%
Mango Farm 35.0 -1.4 38.2 1st 23.4 0.0 20.9 18th 148.3 128.4 high 115%
Middle Point     36.6 26th 23.2   21.3 14th 118.6
Noonamah 35.4   37.9 1st 23.6   21.6 14th 207.4
Oenpelli 36.0 -1.1 37.8 5th 24.0 -0.1 21.8 4th 179.2 110.0 high 163%
Pirlangimpi 33.8 +0.4 35.8 28th 24.4 +0.2 22.4 7th 144.2 193.5 low 75%
Point Stuart 33.8   35.8 1st 24.5   21.4 8th 292.8 65.5 v high 447%
Port Keats 33.9 -0.5 37.2 26th 25.0 -0.5 22.3 18th 85.0 78.6 average 108%
Tindal RAAF 35.6 -1.7 38.3 29th 24.2 -0.9 21.4 5th 104.0 96.0 average 108%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Alyangula Police 33.0 -0.9 35.0 15th 25.4 -0.1 23.2 2nd 82.5 55.8 high 148%
Gove Airport 33.7 +0.6 35.4 26th 23.4 0.0 20.9 1st 22.0 43.0 average 51%
Groote Eylandt Airport 33.7 -0.8 36.0 29th 23.6 +0.1 21.5 2nd 245.2 107.5 v high 228%
Maningrida 34.0   36.1 25th 25.2   23.6 3rd 30.6
Milingimbi 33.8   36.0 25th 25.7   23.3 19th 72.8
Ngayawili 33.6 +0.4 36.7 27th 24.6 +0.2 21.2 2nd 45.2 65.0 average 70%
North East Island 33.3   34.7 15th 26.5   23.9 22nd 40.4 43.4 high 93%
Warruwi 33.9 +0.3 35.4 9th 26.0 -0.4 23.1 10th 116.6 56.7 v high 206%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 35.4 -2.0 38.0 7th 23.7 -0.2 20.6 22nd 222.4 75.2 v high 296%
Centre Island 34.6 0.0 36.9 11th 26.6 -0.2 22.7 22nd 52.8 38.0 high 139%
Daly Waters 35.2 -3.0 38.4 6th 23.0 -0.8 18.6 3rd 246.0 42.7 highest 576%
Larrimah 35.6 -2.3 37.8 30th 23.2 -1.1 20.1 3rd 82.2 65.0 average 126%
McArthur River Mine 35.8 -2.9 39.0 30th 24.1 0.0 21.1 22nd 262.6 49.8 highest 527%
Ngukurr 37.4 -1.6 39.9 17th 25.4 +0.4 21.8 21st 165.0 40.8 highest 404%
Wollogorang 34.6 -3.0 39.1 13th 23.2 +0.7 20.1 27th 134.4 62.0 v high 217%
Victoria (district 14F)
Kidman Springs 37.0 -2.0 41.2 29th 24.3 -0.8 20.6 28th 85.6 56.4 high 152%
Lajamanu 36.9 -1.4 42.1 30th 21.8 -1.4 16.0 28th 13.0 31.5 average 41%
Timber Creek 36.4 -2.1 40.1 29th 24.0 -1.3 21.2 28th 189.7 80.3 v high 236%
Victoria River Downs 36.4 -2.1 41.0 29th 23.9 -0.7 20.1 28th 127.2 58.8 v high 216%
Wave Hill 36.2 -2.5 41.1 7th 22.9 -0.9 17.1 28th 97.4 57.1 high 171%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 34.7 -3.3 38.2 16th 22.4 -0.6 16.6 28th 109.2 28.8 v high 379%
Tennant Creek Airport 34.0 -2.5 39.5 7th 22.7 -1.1 17.5 23rd 107.6 37.4 v high 288%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 32.8 -0.8 41.9 29th 17.6 -0.3 10.3 25th 40.6 28.2 high 144%
Arltunga 31.7 -2.0 40.3 8th 15.8 -2.7 7.3 25th 26.0 30.5 average 85%
Curtin Springs 32.5 -1.9 39.3 29th 17.2 -0.7 11.5 21st 106.2 22.5 highest 472%
Jervois 35.1 -0.9 41.2 29th 19.6 +0.8 12.9 26th 59.4 23.9 high 249%
Kulgera 32.0 -1.4 39.4 29th 16.7 -1.7 10.5 24th 50.9 23.9 v high 213%
Papunya 32.9   39.1 29th 19.1   12.5 1st 47.9 32.3 high 148%
Rabbit Flat 35.7 -3.2 40.5 29th 20.7 -1.5 14.2 26th 38.4 34.4 average 112%
Territory Grape Farm 34.3 -1.3 40.7 29th 19.7 +1.1 14.3 25th 18.0 32.9 average 55%
Walungurru 34.8   41.5 29th 20.7   15.3 23rd 35.6
Watarrka 32.7 -2.4 39.4 29th 18.1 -1.9 10.1 25th 47.2 48.8 average 97%
Yulara 32.2 -2.8 39.5 29th 16.6 -1.7 10.1 25th 102.6 35.2 v high 291%

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 9 am on Thursday 1 December 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