Monday, 2 April 2012 - Monthly Climate Summary for Northern Territory - Product code IDCKGC12R0
Northern Territory in March 2012: Cool with a few very wet days
- Cloudband brings heavy rains to Alice Springs District
- Monsoon returns to the Top End
- Palmerston sets new March daily rainfall record
Heavy rainfall in Alice Springs District
Widespread, heavy and persistent rainfall was recorded across southeast Australia, including the Alice Springs District, between 27 February and 5 March 2012, a result of a slow moving low pressure trough and associated cloudband (see Special Climate Statement 39 for more information). Several NT stations set new daily rainfall records for March from this event. Yambah Cattle Station measured 107.4 mm on the 1st, breaking the previous March daily rainfall record of 98.0 mm set in 1983. Mount Riddock had 98.0 mm fall on the 2nd, surpassing the previous record of 91.4 mm on 4th in 1972.
Tropical low impacts the Top End
On the 9th, a tropical low formed within the monsoon trough over the Timor Sea. Over the next few days the system, designated as 17U, slowly intensified. On March 14th the storm moved over land near the NT/WA border. It moved east across the Top End and emerged over the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria on the 16th. While the storm trekked across the Top End several daily rainfall records were set; the 14th and the 15th were especially wet. In addition to heavy rainfall, strong winds lashed the northwest coast. Darwin Airport, for example, measured a wind gust of 85 km/h on the 15th.
Monsoon returns to the Top End
This wet season has been marked by long break and burst periods in the North Australian Monsoon (NAM). February experienced a prolonged break period while March, especially toward the middle of the month, saw a monsoonal burst over the Top End.
On the 14th, as tropical low 17U moved over the Top End, Dum In Mirrie measured 136.0 mm surpassing their old recordof 131.0 mm from the 18th in 1999. Palmerston received 150 mm, 1 mm more than their previous March daily rainfall record set in 1997. On the 15th, Walker Creek recorded 164.4 mm and Beeboom Crossing had 146.5 mm, a new March daily rainfall record for both of these locations.
The wettest single day for the NT was the 14th. On the Channel Islandrecorded 219.1 mm, the highest daily total for the month in the Territory. The next highest total on the 14th was at Stokes Hill with 180.8 mm and Wagait Beach with 180.4 mm.
The highest rainfall total for the month Walker Creek with 680.0 mm, followed by Douglas River with 586.4 mm and Darwin Airport with 575.0 mm. In stark contrast, the driest overall was Bond Springs Turnoff with only 1.0 mm, followed by Coniston with 12.5 mm, and Warramunga with 12.8 mm. There is a map of monthly rainfall deciles below.
The warmest mean temperature (average of maximum and minimum temperature) for March was Bradshaw with 29.4 °C, followed by Timber Creek and Cape Don with 29.2 °C and then Centre Island with 29.1 °C. The equal coolest for the month were Alice Springs Airport and Arltunga with 22.4 °C and then Curtin Springs with 23.4 °C followed by Yulara Aero with 23.9 °C.
The maximum temperature values were strongly influenced by rainfall this month. There were two big rainfall events in the Northern Territory this month, one in the south at the beginning of the month and the other in the north about halfway through the month. With rain and thick cloud cover, below average maximum temperatures correspond with these events. The coldest day in the NT this month was measured at Alice Springs Airport on the 2nd with a maximum temperature of only 18.0 °C, which is 14.6 °C below the March average. On the 1st Kulgera had a maximum temperature of 18.4 °C and Arltunga had 18.8 °C on the 2nd. Both the 1st and 2nd of March were cloudy and stormy days in the Alice Springs District.
When averaged across the whole month, most places in the NT were cooler than their mean daily maximum temperature. The places that had the coolest days on average were Arltunga with 28.4 °C, followed by Kulgera with 29.6 °C, and then Alice Springs Airport with 29.8 °C.
Even though most mean daily maximum temperatures were below average, there were still plenty of hot days across the Territory in March. The hottest days were experienced near the end of the month. Walungurru had the two hottest days with 38.8 °C on the 30th, and 38.6 on the 31st. This was followed by Curtin Springs with 38.5 °C on the 31st.
On average, the warmest days were at Rabbit Flat with a march average of 34.9 °C, followed by Timber Creek with 34.6 °C, and then Bradshaw with 34.4 °C. Even though these sites were the warmest on average across the Territory this month, they were still 1.0 °C, 0.8 °C and 0.7 °C below the long-term average for each site respectively.Some sites, including Port Keats, had their coldest March day (lowest maximum temperature) on record. There is a map of maximum temperature anomalies below.
Most of the Territory saw near average minimum temperatures this month, with a few exceptions. There were several cool nights in the Alice Springs District later in the month. There were a few record low minimum temperatures set this month. Black Point and Rabbit Flat both had their lowest daily March temperature on record. In contrast, Groote Eylandt Airport and Port Keats both had their warmest March night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record. Arltunga had its lowest March mean daily minimum temperature on record. Tennant Creek Airport saw their coolest March since 2001 with a mean daily minimum temperature of 22.2 °C, one degree below their long term average. Yulara also saw below average minimum temperatures, with a monthly average of 16.4 °C, their coolest March in 10 years. There is a map of minimum temperature anomalies below.
The coldest night was on the 26th at Curtin Springs with 7.5 °C , followed by Alice Springs Airport with 8.9 °C on the 24th and then Alice Springs Airport again with 9.1 °C on the 25th. The coolest nights on average were at Alice Springs Airport with 15.0 °C, followed by Curtin Springs with 15.9 °C, and then Kulgera with 16.2 °C.
The warmest night was at Cape Don with 28.6 °C on the 22nd, followed by Dum In Mirrie AWS with 28.5 °C on the 21st. The warmest nights on average were at Cape Don with 26.3 °C, followed by North East Island with 26.0 °C, and then Centre Island with 25.8 °C.
The strongest wind gust was at Cape Wessel with 100 km/h on the 17th, followed by Darwin Airport with 85 km/h on the 15th, followed by Point Fawcett with 83 km/h on the 14th.
|Extremes in March 2012|
|Hottest day||38.8 °C at Walungurru on the 30th|
|Warmest days on average||34.9 °C at Rabbit Flat|
|Coolest days on average||28.4 °C at Arltunga|
|Coldest day||18.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 2nd|
|Coldest night||7.5 °C at Curtin Springs on the 26th|
|Coolest nights on average||15.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport|
|Warmest nights on average||26.3 °C at Cape Don|
|Warmest night||28.6 °C at Cape Don on the 22nd|
|Warmest on average overall||29.4 °C at Bradshaw|
|Coolest on average overall||22.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport|
|Wettest overall||680.0 mm at Walker Creek|
|Driest overall||1.0 mm at Bond Springs Turnoff|
|Wettest day||219.1 mm at Channel Island on the 14th|
|Highest wind gust||100 km/h at Cape Wessel on the 17th|
Anomaly in mean maximum temperature
Anomaly in mean minimum temperature
|Record highest March daily rainfall|
Highest daily rainfall
in March 2012 (mm)
|Yambah||107.4||on the 1st||98.0||on the 18th in 1983||45|
|Mount Riddock||98.0||on the 2nd||91.4||on the 4th in 1972||41|
|Douglas River||169.0||on the 15th||155.0||on the 3rd in 2000||39|
|Suplejack||126.0||on the 2nd||81.4||on the 24th in 1982||31|
|Palmerston||150.0||on the 14th||149.0||on the 5th in 1997||29|
|Gilnockie||143.4||on the 1st||123.0||on the 3rd in 2011||24|
|Walker Creek||164.4||on the 15th||164.0||on the 8th in 1995||19|
|Beeboom Crossing||146.5||on the 15th||90.0||on the 2nd in 1999||16|
|Dum In Mirrie AWS||136.0||on the 14th||131.0||on the 18th in 1999||15|
|Dashwood Crossing||100.4||on the 1st||71.8||on the 14th in 2006||14|
|Sleisbeck||120.0||on the 22nd||84.5||on the 13th in 2006||14|
|Bradshaw||84.4||on the 9th||84.0||on the 3rd in 2000||12|
|Upper Bond Springs||47.0||on the 2nd||37.0||on the 24th in 2007||11|
|Record highest total March rainfall|
for March 2012 (mm)
|Walker Creek||680.0||663.2||in 2000||16||334.0|
|Dashwood Crossing||289.0||260.0||in 2006||14||100.9|
|Record lowest March daily maximum temperature|
Lowest daily maximum
in March 2012 (°C)
|Douglas River||25.9||on the 14th||= 25.9||on the 2nd in 2000||21||33.7|
|Port Keats Aero||26.9||on the 15th||27.6||on the 12th in 2006||12||33.3|
|Papunya||21.5||on the 2nd||22.1||on the 22nd in 2011||11||34.9|
|Record highest March daily minimum temperature|
Highest daily minimum
in March 2012 (°C)
|Groote Eylandt Airport AWS||27.3||on the 19th||27.2||on the 14th in 2007||13||23.6|
|Port Keats Aero||27.7||on the 20th||27.0||on the 8th in 2001||12||24.0|
|Record lowest March temperature|
in March 2012 (°C)
|Black Point||21.4||on the 14th||= 21.4||on the 3rd in 2007||20||25.5|
|Rabbit Flat||12.4||on the 26th||13.5||on the 25th in 1997||16||21.6|
|Record lowest March mean daily minimum temperature|
Mean daily minimum
for March 2012 (°C)
|Summary statistics for March 2012|
|Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)|
|Central Arnhem Plateau||30.8||33.7||31st||22.4||19.5||25th||218.4|
|Darwin Airport||31.8||-0.1||34.0||30th||24.8||+0.3||22.5||8th||575.0||321.4||v high||179%|
|Delamere Weapons Range||33.1||-1.1||35.1||31st||23.1||0.0||18.1||25th||240.2||160.7||average||149%|
|Douglas River||32.6||-1.1||34.7||21st||23.6||+0.5||19.0||26th||586.4||233.8||v high||251%|
|Dum In Mirrie AWS||31.6||0.0||33.1||26th||25.2||+0.1||21.7||26th||394.4||335.9||average||117%|
|Katherine Country Club||33.5||35.5||23rd||23.3||17.4||25th||284.0|
|Mango Farm||33.1||-0.8||35.7||13th||23.5||-0.1||19.7||26th||488.5||228.2||v high||214%|
|Middle Point AWS||33.0||-0.3||35.9||21st||23.8||-0.1||20.2||26th||451.8||273.2||high||165%|
|Port Keats Aero||32.7||-0.6||35.3||30th||24.3||+0.3||20.1||26th||136.4||202.8||average||67%|
|Arnhem (district 14BC)|
|Groote Eylandt Airport AWS||32.1||-0.2||33.8||31st||24.3||+0.7||20.9||30th||229.2||333.2||low||69%|
|North East Island||31.7||33.8||23rd||26.0||23.0||9th||185.0||197.9||average||93%|
|Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)|
|Daly Waters AWS||32.9||-1.7||34.9||9th||22.6||+0.1||15.9||25th||254.6||114.1||high||223%|
|McArthur River Mine||34.0||-0.9||36.8||6th||23.8||+0.5||18.6||24th||230.4||145.8||high||158%|
|Victoria (district 14F)|
|Victoria River Downs||33.1||-2.0||35.8||31st||23.5||+0.3||17.2||25th||284.4||110.1||v high||258%|
|Wave Hill||32.9||-2.5||35.5||31st||22.8||+0.7||16.1||25th||323.9||125.5||v high||258%|
|Barkly (district 15A)|
|Tennant Creek Airport||31.9||-2.4||35.0||31st||22.2||-1.0||17.7||25th||109.2||58.5||high||187%|
|Alice Springs (district 15B)|
|Alice Springs Airport||29.8||-2.8||36.2||31st||15.0||-2.5||8.9||24th||40.8||32.4||high||126%|
|Territory Grape Farm||31.1||-3.0||34.8||31st||18.2||-1.4||12.3||24th||38.0||22.2||high||171%|
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 11 am on Monday 2 April 2012. 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
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.