Northern Territory in January 2013: Hottest January on Record

  • NT January average maximum temperature is hottest on record
  • Dry conditions continue across the Territory

An exceptional heat wave in early January

A heat wave early in January was exceptional in its extent and duration affecting most of Australia. In the southern NT, Alice Springs broke the record for the longest streak of days above 40 °C. From the 1st to the 17th inclusive, daytime temperatures at the Alice Springs airport rose over the 40 °C mark, surpassing the previous record streak of 12 days over 40 °C set in 2006. Although Alice Springs failed to break the record of the hottest January day set in 1960 with 45.2 °C, it manage to break the January mean maximum temperature record with 40.1 °C. This is 0.1 degrees warmer than the previous record of 40.0 °C set in January 2006. To the south of Alice Springs, Yulara Aero managed to surpass the 44.0 °C mark 10 days in a row (4th to the 13th inclusive), breaking their previous record streak of days above 44.0 °C of four days set in 1998.

Hottest January on record for the NT

The Northern Territory (as well as the entire country) had its hottest January on record for mean temperature, reaching 38.9 °C (both night-time and daytime temperatures combined) and also its highest mean maximum temperature on record with 32.0 °C, 2.6 °C above the norm. Both existing records for the NT were set in 1971. Across the territory, 13 stations recorded their hottest January on record for mean temperatures. Such records were driven primarily by really hot daytime temperatures, in which 12 out of the 13 stations recorded their highest mean maximum temperatures. Gove with a mean maximum temperature of 33.3 °C, Tindal with 36.7 °C and Yulara with 41.3 °C were among the stations that broke their January record. Darwin Airport's mean daytime temperature of 32.8 °C was the warmest January since 2002, when daytime temperatures averaged 33.1 °C.

With a maximum temperature of 46.4 °C on the 11th (amidst the heat wave that perdured in the first half of the month), Yulara Aero equaled its hottest January day on record set in 2011. This was 0.6 °C shy of the hottest day ever recorded in Yulara for any given month. Further north, Tennant Creek hit the 44.2 °C mark on the 25th, making it the hottest January day in 44 years worth of records.

Night-time temperatures were also hotter than average with a Territory mean average of 25.0 °C. Although this is only, 1.3 °C above the norm, 12 stations across the Territory managed to register their warmest January nights on record. On average, nights in January 2013 were the warmest since January 2008. Particularly warm, was the night preceding Australia Day in which Jabiru, Gove, Tindal, Batchelor and Middle Point recorded their warmest January night on record. Darwin Airport mean nighttime temperature of 25.8 °C was the warmest January since 2002. For Elliot with 24.9 °C and Borroloola with 25.5 °C, it was their warmest January nights since 1991 and 1998 respectively.

Driest January since 1994

The area-average rainfall for the Northern Territory was 66.4 mm, which is just over 55% of the January mean rainfall of 120.1 mm. The lack of monsoonal activity across the Top End and weak fontal systems across the south led to the driest January since 1994. During January, Tennant Creek only managed 11.2 mm of rain making it the driest January since 1985. Other sites like Groote Eylandt* (192.3 mm) and Elliot* (66.4 mm) had their driest January since 2001 and 1992 respectively.

Across the north, the 2012/2013 wet season continued with very little rainfall. Counting January, Darwin Airport had only received 518.4 mm since the start of the 2012/2013 wet season, making it the 5th driest on record to that point in the season (October to January). This is the driest October to January period for Darwin Airport since the 2006/2007 wet season. Most stations across the Top End remain in the bottom 20% for rainfall this season with Gove Airport picking up 169.6 mm, driest on record and Jabiru with 617.2 mm, their 4th driest since the season began last October.

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Extremes in January 2013
Hottest day 46.7 °C at Walungurru on the 9th
Warmest days on average 42.9 °C at Walungurru
Coolest days on average 31.8 °C at Darwin Harbour
Coldest day 25.1 °C at Batchelor Aero on the 18th
Coldest night 13.6 °C at Kulgera on the 30th
Coolest nights on average 21.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 28.1 °C at Walungurru
Warmest night 32.8 °C at Walungurru on the 22nd
Warmest on average overall 35.5 °C at Walungurru
Coolest on average overall 28.8 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau
Wettest overall 452.8 mm at Croker Island Airport
Driest overall 0 mm at Baileys Grave
0 mm at Coolibah
0 mm at Daly River Police Station
0 mm at Leaders Creek
0 mm at Mount Sir Charles
0 mm at Upper Bond Springs
Wettest day 144.6 mm at Delamere Weapons Range on the 18th
Highest wind gust 106 km/h at Cape Wessel on the 20th

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest January daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in January 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for January
Years of
record
Delamere Weapons Range 144.6 on the 18th 98.6 on the 21st in 2011 16
Dashwood Crossing 106.6 on the 18th 88.8 on the 30th in 2009 15




Record lowest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
for January 2013 (mm)
Previous driest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Legune 39.4 52.6 in 1958 57 296.6
Adelaide River Post Office 123.0 144.1 in 1972 51 326.4
Hodgson River 50.4 60.8 in 2000 39 219.0
Berry Springs Rangers 85.6 119.1 in 1972 25 387.6
Watarrka 1.0 1.6 in 2002 23 33.9
Coolibah 0.0 17.6 in 1996 17 215.7
Beeboom Crossing 2.5 119.0 in 2003 14 313.5
Adelaide River Town 4.5 10.6 in 2002 13 270.5
Bond Springs 1.0 9.0 in 2009 13 41.8
Bond Springs Turnoff 0.5 3.0 in 2012 13 33.9
Wigley Gorge 1.5 5.0 in 2003 13 45.0
Upper Bond Springs 0.0 5.0 in 2006 12 33.1
Leaders Creek 0.0 189.0 in 2002 11 399.5
West Waterhouse 83.8 94.6 in 2006 10 189.2




Record highest January temperature
Highest temperature
in January 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Curtin Springs 46.4 on the 11th 45.5 on the 28th in 2011 49 37.8
Tennant Creek Airport 44.2 on the 25th 44.0 on the 5th in 1971 44 36.7
Centre Island 39.7 on the 27th 39.6 on the 20th in 1994 39 33.6
Kulgera 44.9 on the 8th = 44.9 on the 28th in 2011 33 36.8
Yulara Aero 46.4 on the 11th = 46.4 on the 28th in 2011 26 38.5
Watarrka 45.3 on the 12th 45.1 on the 6th in 2004 22 38.4
Lajamanu 44.4 on the 25th = 44.4 on the 21st in 2008 21 37.1
Borroloola 42.3 on the 16th 41.9 on the 8th in 2006 20 34.0
Channel Point 35.0 on the 7th 34.9 on the 11th in 2012 19 31.7
Rabbit Flat 46.7 on the 25th 44.9 on the 27th in 2005 17 38.6
Point Fawcett 34.3 on the 7th 34.0 on the 28th in 2002 16 31.6
McCluer Island 34.0 on the 9th = 34.0 on the 17th in 2012 13 31.4
Walungurru 46.7 on the 9th 46.2 on the 28th in 2011 11 39.9



Record lowest January daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in January 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Batchelor Aero 25.1 on the 18th 25.6 on the 26th in 1998 17 32.7



Record highest January mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for January 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Alice Springs Airport 40.1 40.0 in 2006 71 36.4
Daly Waters 39.7 38.8 in 1947 43 35.7
Gove Airport 33.5 33.3 in 1992 34 32.0
Tindal RAAF 36.7 36.2 in 1988 25 34.0
Yulara Aero 41.3 40.9 in 2011 25 38.5
Borroloola 37.3 35.6 in 2008 19 34.0
Rabbit Flat 42.1 41.5 in 2008 16 38.6
Delamere Weapons Range 38.2 37.3 in 2012 15 34.4
Bradshaw 37.4 36.6 in 2012 13 34.9
Groote Eylandt Airport 35.1 34.4 in 2007 13 33.2
McCluer Island 31.9 31.8 in 2007 12 31.4
Walungurru 42.9 42.2 in 2008 10 39.9




Record highest January daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in January 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Curtin Springs 31.5 on the 13th 31.4 on the 4th in 2006 49 22.2
Wave Hill 30.0 on the 8th 29.5 on the 1st in 1990 40 24.3
Centre Island 31.4 on the 26th 30.8 on the 12th in 1983 39 26.7
Jabiru Airport 28.8 on the 26th 28.0 on the 13th in 1992 37 24.6
Gove Airport 29.3 on the 26th 29.0 on the 3rd in 1991 35 24.7
Mango Farm 28.0 on the 26th 27.4 on the 6th in 1998 33 23.8
Pirlangimpi 28.8 on the 27th = 28.8 on the 4th in 1980 32 24.6
Tindal RAAF 28.4 on the 26th 27.9 on the 8th in 1996 26 24.2
Douglas River 28.2 on the 26th 26.9 on the 6th in 1998 24 23.8
Lajamanu 29.5 on the 13th = 29.5 on the 18th in 1968 21 24.0
Borroloola 29.5 on the 26th 29.2 on the 26th in 2010 20 24.8
Batchelor Aero 27.8 on the 26th 27.1 on the 6th in 1998 17 23.9
Rabbit Flat 30.9 on the 25th 30.4 on the 21st in 2005 17 24.0
Delamere Weapons Range 28.4 on the 26th 28.0 on the 7th in 2007 16 23.9
Bradshaw 29.4 on the 26th 28.2 on the 10th in 2006 14 24.8
Groote Eylandt Airport 30.2 on the 26th 28.6 on the 4th in 2005 14 25.1
Ngayawili 29.9 on the 27th = 29.9 on the 11th in 2006 14 25.7
Middle Point 27.6 on the 26th 27.0 on the 29th in 2006 12 24.2



Record highest January mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for January 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Jervois 25.7 25.4 in 2004 43 22.7
Wave Hill 26.2 25.8 in 2012 39 24.3
Jabiru Airport 25.7 25.2 in 2007 36 24.6
Gove Airport 25.3 = 25.3 in 2002 34 24.7
McArthur River Mine 26.2 = 26.2 in 2008 34 24.9
Timber Creek 26.0 25.7 in 1993 31 24.9
Tindal RAAF 25.3 25.0 in 1996 25 24.2
Douglas River 24.8 = 24.8 in 2007 23 23.8
Lajamanu 25.2 25.1 in 1973 20 24.0
Delamere Weapons Range 25.5 24.7 in 2012 15 23.9
Bradshaw 25.8 25.7 in 2007 13 24.8
Groote Eylandt Airport 25.7 = 25.7 in 2007 13 25.1
Middle Point 24.6 = 24.6 in 2009 11 24.2



Summary statistics for January 2013
Maximum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2013
Mean for
January
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2013
Total for
January
2013
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2013
Fraction of
January
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 33.6 +0.9 36.8 11th 24.4 +0.5 21.6 28th 274.4 306.7 average 89%
Black Point 32.1 +0.7 34.0 3rd 25.9 +0.1 21.8 19th 351.2 296.2 average 119%
Bradshaw 37.4 +2.5 41.0 26th 25.8 +1.0 22.1 29th 225.6 241.4 average 93%
Cape Don 33.2   35.9 1st 26.6   22.9 28th 422.6 239.6 high 176%
Central Arnhem Plateau 33.7   36.1 11th 23.9   20.8 17th 214.6 343.8 low 62%
Channel Point 32.6 +0.9 35.0 7th 25.7 +0.8 20.9 2nd 274.9 415.5 low 66%
Croker Island Airport 32.0   36.1 1st 25.9   23.3 8th 452.8
Darwin Airport 32.8 +1.0 34.9 4th 25.8 +1.0 22.3 2nd 220.6 423.8 low 52%
Darwin Harbour 31.8   34.6 6th 26.0   22.8 13th
Delamere Weapons Range 38.2 +3.8 41.2 6th 25.5 +1.6 21.7 18th 237.0 189.8 average 125%
Douglas River 35.7 +2.1 38.5 26th 24.8 +1.0 21.5 29th 120.2 282.1 v low 43%
Dum In Mirrie 32.5 +1.0 34.4 7th 26.1 +0.5 22.2 2nd 181.4 348.1 v low 52%
Jabiru Airport 35.3 +1.8 37.7 10th 25.7 +1.1 23.2 17th 217.6 350.3 low 62%
Katherine Country Club 37.0   39.4 25th 24.8   21.5 12th 187.8
Mango Farm 34.7 +1.1 38.0 11th 24.5 +0.7 22.1 17th 191.4 346.3 low 55%
McCluer Island 31.9 +0.5 34.0 9th 26.8 +0.2 23.8 8th 255.0 225.8 average 113%
Middle Point 35.1 +1.8 37.6 11th 24.6 +0.4 22.2 19th 263.8 281.9 average 94%
Murganella Airstrip 33.5   36.4 3rd 25.3   23.1 17th 21.6
Noonamah 34.7   37.4 11th 24.7   22.4 2nd 298.0
Oenpelli Airport 34.4   37.7 1st 25.3   21.8 11th 286.4
Pirlangimpi 32.3 +0.5 34.7 5th 25.5 +0.9 21.6 28th 352.2 408.1 average 86%
Point Fawcett 32.4 +0.8 34.3 7th 26.3 +0.6 22.6 28th 214.8 343.4 low 63%
Point Stuart 33.1   35.6 11th 25.6   21.0 28th 425.0 266.1 high 160%
Tindal RAAF 36.7 +2.7 38.8 16th 25.3 +1.1 21.8 29th 184.0 264.7 average 70%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 33.4   36.6 10th 26.7   23.1 21st 132.2 225.4 low 59%
Gove Airport 33.5 +1.5 36.2 25th 25.3 +0.6 22.9 22nd 155.4 271.9 low 57%
Groote Eylandt Airport 35.1 +1.9 38.1 25th 25.7 +0.6 22.6 23rd 130.2 226.5 low 57%
Maningrida Aero 33.8   36.9 25th 25.6   22.4 17th 124.0
Milingimbi 34.1   37.0 10th 25.7   20.3 28th 240.0 183.6 high 131%
Ngayawili 32.6 +1.0 34.4 7th 26.2 +0.5 23.1 28th 291.0 361.3 average 81%
North East Island 34.3   35.5 14th 27.5   23.8 23rd 127.2 111.9 average 114%
Warruwi 33.2 +1.2 35.9 10th 26.2 +0.6 23.4 8th 354.2 259.8 high 136%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 37.3 +3.3 42.3 16th 25.5 +0.7 21.6 31st 190.0 192.8 average 99%
Centre Island 36.0 +2.4 39.7 27th 27.9 +1.2 24.3 18th 157.4 216.0 average 73%
Daly Waters 39.7 +4.0 43.4 25th 25.2 +1.2 22.3 30th 92.6 157.0 average 59%
McArthur River Mine 39.1 +3.2 43.4 25th 26.2 +1.3 22.2 31st 69.4 204.8 low 34%
Ngukurr 39.0   43.5 16th 27.1   22.4 17th 107.8
Wollogorang 37.0 +2.2 42.5 28th 24.5 +0.3 20.4 31st 154.7 233.4 average 66%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu 40.5 +3.4 44.4 25th 25.2 +1.2 21.4 31st 69.6 141.5 average 49%
Timber Creek 38.3 +2.4 40.9 26th 26.0 +1.1 23.4 18th 192.9 227.6 average 85%
Victoria River Downs 38.5 +1.9 42.1 16th 26.2 +1.3 22.4 18th 143.4 153.7 average 93%
Wave Hill 40.1 +3.1 44.7 25th 26.2 +1.9 22.0 30th 37.8 145.4 low 26%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 39.8 +2.8 42.9 25th 25.3 +0.8 20.1 31st 47.3 105.9 average 45%
Elliott 39.9 +2.4 45.0 9th 24.9 +0.8 21.0 26th 66.4 133.2 low 50%
Tennant Creek Airport 39.5 +2.8 44.2 25th 26.4 +1.5 22.6 19th 11.2 110.0 v low 10%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 40.1 +3.7 44.4 12th 21.9 +0.4 14.9 31st 23.6 38.6 average 61%
Arltunga 38.2 +2.1 43.2 12th 23.3 +1.1 14.0 31st 30.2 43.4 average 70%
Curtin Springs 41.2 +3.4 46.4 11th 24.6 +2.4 18.0 28th 2.0 28.3 low 7%
Jervois 41.1 +2.7 45.5 11th 25.7 +3.0 17.8 30th 6.6 50.0 low 13%
Kulgera 40.3 +3.5 44.9 8th 22.5 +0.5 13.6 30th 4.2 28.8 low 15%
Rabbit Flat 42.1 +3.5 46.7 25th 25.1 +1.1 19.3 29th 31.8 105.3 low 30%
Walungurru 42.9 +3.0 46.7 9th 28.1 +1.9 23.2 27th 5.4 29.1 low 19%
Yulara Aero 41.3 +2.8 46.4 11th 24.4 +1.7 17.2 2nd 3.4 26.3 low 13%

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 Friday 1 February 2013. 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 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