Northern Territory in February 2013: Cooler in the North, Dry throughout

  • Storms brings wettest month to Darwin since March 2012
  • Coolest month since August 2012 for Darwin
  • 3rd hottest summer for Alice Springs

Unseasonably dry conditions continue in the Northern Territory

The northern NT has continued to experience unseasonably dry conditions throughout February, following a month of below average rainfall. Territory wide, the NT received 62.12 mm, the lowest February rain since 2005. This is 58.44 mm (48.5%) below the norm.

Up to early February, Darwin Airport was tracking as one of the driest wet seasons on record. Storms rolling over the capital in the second and third weeks and a brief burst of an active monsoon at the end of the month, however, provided enough rainfall to bring Darwin total rainfall to 401.6 mm, which is 27 mm above the long term average. In early February, active storms developed over Darwin leading to heavy precipitation. On the 12th, 94.2 mm were recorded at Darwin Airport just within one hour. Even though, monsoonal activity has been very sporadic, February 2013 saw more rain than the same month last year when Darwin Airport managed to receive 250.2 mm. Over all, February, was the wettest month in Darwin since March 2012. The rural areas, with about 160.6 mm saw their driest February since 2012 when they had just 52.4 mm of rain. Most of this fell on the 25th when storms formed on the seabreaze front around Howard Springs and north of Humpty Doo. Heavy rain and strong winds associated with these cells caused considerable damage in the area.

The western Top End, however, was an anomaly when compared to the rest of the Territory. Over the eastern Top End, Gove only managed to pick up 103.4 mm, their driest February since 1989. Similarly, Oenpelli with 156.6 endured its driest February since 1990 and Jabiru Airport saw its lowest February rainfall total on record with only 102.6 mm. Further south, most of the Barkly saw its driest February since the late 2000's. Alice Springs, with just 11 mm had its dries February since 2009 (they just had 4.6 mm back then) and Kidman Springs endured its driest February in 44 years. Overall, most of the southern NT has not experience any substantial rainfall since March 2012.

3rd Hottest summer in Alice Springs

At 29.6°C for its mean temperature (both daytime and night-time temperatures combined), the Alice has endured its 3rd hottest summer on record (December to February period). The previous hottest summer was in 2005/2005 with 31.6 °C. While for the people of the Top End, there is no seasons (rather than just the wet and the dry seasons), the December to February period recorded a mean temperatures of 29.3 °C in Darwin, equaling the city's hottest December to February period on record; the previous record was set in 1981/1982.

Territory wide, the mean temperature was 29.97 °C, 0.64 above the norm making it the hottest February for Territorians since 2007. The mean maximum temperature for the Territory was 38.81 °C, also the highest since 2007, while the mean minimum temperature was 23.12 °C, which is 0.64 °C below the norm but highest since 2010.

Daytime temperatures

Across the north, Darwin recorded a mean maximum temperature of 32.7 °C. Even though this was its hottest daytime February temperatures since 2006 it was the coolest days (on average) that Darwinites have experience since the past late dry season. This is 0.7 °C above the 31.4 °C registered last August. In general, daytime temperatures were very much above average across the Top End and the eastern NT, where the lack of cloud cover which characterizes the North Australian Monsoon, led to a higher sunlight exposure and therefore higher temperatures. Most of the area around Borroloola, adjacent to the Gulf of Carpentaria registered their hottest February days since early 1990's.

Over the central Top End, Maningrida recorded a mean maximum of 32.7 °C, their hottest February daytime temperatures since 2005. Across the south, Alice Springs recorded its hottest February daytime temperatures since 2007 with a mean maximum temperature of 36.7 °C and Yulara with a mean maximum of 37.4 °C registered its hottest days on average in over 2 years (since January 2011).

Night-time temperatures

As with the daytime temperatures, night-time temperatures were also above average across most of the northern half of the NT. Darwin, however, with a mean minimum of 24.8 °C (just 0.1°C above the norm) recorded its coolest February nights since 2011. February night-time temperatures across the Territory capital gave residents some relief as these were the coolest (on average) since September last year.

In Daly Waters, the February mean minimum temperature was 30.5 °C, their hottest February night-time temperatures since 1970. Similarly in Jabiru, where this month's mean minimum temperature of 26.1 °C, they experienced their hottest February nights (on average) since records began in 1972. Further south, Alice Springs recorded its hottest nights on average since 2009 with a mean minimum temperature of 28.4 °C.

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Extremes in February 2013
Hottest day 44.3 °C at Rabbit Flat on the 7th
Warmest days on average 39.3 °C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average 32.0 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 22.1 °C at Yulara Aero on the 27th
Coldest night 12.0 °C at Kulgera on the 2nd
Coolest nights on average 20.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 27.8 °C at Centre Island
Warmest night 29.3 °C at Channel Point on the 5th
29.3 °C at Dum In Mirrie on the 5th
Warmest on average overall 32.2 °C at Walungurru
Coolest on average overall 28.1 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 451.0 mm at CSIRO Berrimah
Driest overall 0 mm at Coolibah
0 mm at Watarrka
0 mm at Yirrkala Tropical Gardens
Wettest day 147.8 mm at Howard Springs Nature Park on the 21st
Highest wind gust 107 km/h at Lajamanu on the 18th

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 February daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in February 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for February
Years of
record
Dorisvale Crossing 118.0 on the 26th 115.6 on the 12th in 2002 16
Fergusson River 122.5 on the 22nd 85.0 on the 5th in 2007 13



Record lowest total February rainfall
Total rainfall
for February 2013 (mm)
Previous driest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Kidman Springs 11.6 35.6 in 2007 44 190.6
Jabiru Airport 102.6 104.0 in 1986 37 362.9
Yirrkala Tropical Gardens 0.0 69.5 in 1986 27 224.3
Watarrka 0.0 = 0.0 in 2007 23 46.6
Coolibah 0.0 0.4 in 1996 17 232.3
Geriatric Park 99.8 127.4 in 2006 16 467.8
Central Arnhem Plateau 211.8 233.2 in 2006 10 331.8



Record highest February temperature
Highest temperature
in February 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Jabiru Airport 37.7 on the 4th = 37.7 on the 14th in 2012 37 33.1
Douglas River 39.5 on the 4th 37.4 on the 1st in 2007 22 33.2
Point Fawcett 34.7 on the 14th 34.0 on the 23rd in 1998 16 31.4
Groote Eylandt Airport 38.0 on the 1st 37.0 on the 1st in 2002 14 32.8



Record highest February mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for February 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Gove Airport 33.8 33.7 in 1990 34 31.4
Pirlangimpi 33.0 = 33.0 in 2010 31 31.5
Black Point 32.5 32.1 in 2010 21 31.0
Douglas River 35.4 35.2 in 1996 21 33.2
Borroloola 36.0 35.3 in 2002 19 33.8
Point Fawcett 32.7 32.3 in 2010 15 31.4
Dum In Mirrie 32.5 32.4 in 2010 14 31.2
Groote Eylandt Airport 34.5 = 34.5 in 2010 13 32.8
McCluer Island 32.0 31.9 in 2010 13 31.0
Ngayawili 32.9 32.8 in 2005 13 31.3
Middle Point 35.0 34.6 in 2010 11 33.0



Record highest February daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in February 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Dum In Mirrie 29.3 on the 5th 29.1 on the 24th in 2005 15 25.4
McCluer Island 29.2 on the 27th 29.1 on the 5th in 2008 14 26.1



Record lowest February temperature
Lowest temperature
in February 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Wollogorang 15.5 on the 3rd 16.0 on the 5th in 1990 29 24.0



Record highest February mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for February 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Jabiru Airport 25.7 25.5 in 1998 37 24.4

Highest February mean daily minimum temperature for at least 10 years
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for February 2013 (°C)
Most recent February
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
February
Centre Island 27.8 28.4 in 1986 27 26.5
Wave Hill 24.4 24.8 in 2003 10 23.8



Record highest February mean temperature
Mean daily
temperature
for February 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for February
Years of
record
Average for
February
Jabiru Airport 30.4 30.1 in 1998 36 28.8
Gove Airport 29.0 = 29.0 in 2010 34 28.0
McCluer Island 29.6 = 29.6 in 2010 13 28.5

Highest February mean temperature for at least 10 years
Mean daily
temperature
for February 2013 (°C)
Most recent February
at least this warm
Years since
warmer
Average for
February
Centre Island 31.5 =31.5 in 1986 27 29.7
McArthur River Mine 31.6 31.9 in 1986* 21 29.9
Douglas River 29.6 29.7 in 1998 15 28.5
Daly Waters 30.5 31.0 in 1970* 13 29.2
Borroloola 30.1 30.5 in 2002 11 29.2

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Summary statistics for February 2013
Maximum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for February
(°C)
Rainfall
for February
(millimetres)
Mean for
February
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
February
2013
Mean for
February
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
February
2013
Total for
February
2013
Average
for
February
Rank of
February
2013
Fraction of
February
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 33.7 +1.5 35.8 5th 23.7 -0.1 21.4 12th 259.4 360.7 low 72%
Black Point 32.5 +1.5 33.6 6th 26.1 +0.4 22.7 12th 155.2 277.0 low 56%
Bradshaw 36.3 +1.5 40.3 5th 24.8 +0.1 22.3 16th 191.0 222.8 average 86%
Cape Don 33.5   36.0 14th 26.9   24.6 18th 176.8 215.4 average 82%
Central Arnhem Plateau 33.4   36.6 5th 23.4   20.8 9th 211.8 331.8 lowest 64%
Channel Point 32.3 +0.8 33.5 16th 25.0 -0.1 22.5 13th 273.2 405.7 low 67%
Croker Island Airport 32.3   33.6 11th 26.4   23.9 12th 273.2
Darwin Airport 32.7 +1.3 34.4 7th 24.8 +0.1 21.4 1st 401.6 374.7 average 107%
Darwin harbour 32.3   33.8 6th 25.8   22.2 13th
Douglas River 35.4 +2.2 39.5 4th 23.9 +0.2 22.3 7th 102.4 289.4 v low 35%
Dum In Mirrie 32.5 +1.3 34.0 6th 25.8 +0.4 23.1 7th 131.4 418.3 low 31%
Jabiru Airport 35.2 +2.1 37.7 4th 25.7 +1.3 24.4 1st 102.6 362.9 lowest 28%
Katherine Country Club 36.1   39.5 5th 24.0   20.9 5th 165.2
Mango Farm 34.6 +1.5 37.2 5th 24.0 +0.3 22.5 16th 202.2 329.9 low 61%
McCluer Island 32.0 +1.0 33.6 13th 27.1 +1.0 24.7 23rd 138.6 240.2 average 58%
Middle Point 35.0 +2.0 37.1 25th 23.9 -0.1 22.4 25th 160.6 319.3 low 50%
Murganella Airstrip 33.2   35.9 1st 24.3   22.8 10th 18.0
Noonamah 34.7   37.2 5th 24.0   21.7 1st 181.8
Oenpelli Airport 34.4   36.1 8th 25.4   22.4 2nd 124.2
Pirlangimpi 33.0 +1.5 34.7 9th 24.3 -0.1 22.9 4th 297.4 389.6 low 76%
Point Fawcett 32.7 +1.3 34.7 14th 24.9 -0.7 22.6 3rd 139.4 280.4 low 50%
Point Stuart 32.8   34.8 4th 25.1   22.2 2nd 281.0 287.3 average 98%
Tindal RAAF 35.6 +1.9 38.6 5th 24.1 0.0 20.7 5th 203.6 240.0 average 85%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 33.4   35.0 4th 26.6   24.8 10th 108.8 251.5 low 43%
Gove Airport 33.8 +2.4 35.4 2nd 24.2 -0.3 21.8 4th 110.4 278.6 v low 40%
Groote Eylandt Airport 34.5 +1.7 38.0 1st 24.6 -0.3 20.7 5th 185.6 241.4 average 77%
Maningrida Aero 33.3   35.5 26th 25.5   24.0 3rd 75.8
Ngayawili 32.9 +1.6 33.9 18th 25.9 +0.3 23.8 3rd 126.2 317.0 low 40%
North East Island 34.1   35.3 2nd 27.3   24.7 21st 87.8 164.8 low 53%
Warruwi 32.7 +1.3 35.1 4th 26.4 +1.1 24.7 13th 149.0 234.7 low 63%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 36.0 +2.2 39.1 1st 24.2 -0.3 19.2 5th 59.2 213.1 v low 28%
Centre Island 35.3 +2.4 38.7 1st 27.8 +1.3 24.3 12th 56.8 270.8 low 21%
Daly Waters 37.5 +2.7 41.2 5th 23.5 0.0 16.5 5th 117.6 178.1 average 66%
McArthur River Mine 37.9 +2.7 40.9 1st 25.3 +0.6 20.9 4th 43.0 181.9 low 24%
Ngukurr 38.1   41.6 1st 25.9   21.8 5th 89.8
Wollogorang 36.8 +2.5 39.8 1st 22.9 -1.1 15.5 3rd 79.5 243.9 v low 33%
Victoria (district 14F)
Timber Creek 36.5 +1.4 40.3 6th 25.1 +0.5 23.4 16th 180.1 233.4 average 77%
Victoria River Downs 36.8 +1.4 41.0 5th 24.4 -0.1 19.0 5th 71.4 162.1 low 44%
Wave Hill 38.1 +2.2 42.0 5th 24.4 +0.6 19.6 5th 42.4 173.5 low 24%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 38.6 +2.3 41.2 5th 24.1 -0.1 18.9 5th 20.0 99.9 low 20%
Elliott 37.8 +1.1 41.2 6th 23.8 +0.1 19.8 1st 88.7 159.4 average 56%
Tennant Creek Airport 37.4 +1.7 40.4 24th 24.2 -0.3 21.0 11th 62.4 124.3 average 50%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 36.7 +1.7 42.2 24th 20.2 -0.5 12.5 2nd 11.0 43.8 average 25%
Arltunga 35.3 +1.1 40.0 24th 20.9 -0.1 12.7 3rd 7.6 44.2 average 17%
Curtin Springs 37.3 +0.9 43.8 23rd 21.5 -0.1 16.5 2nd 11.5 26.6 average 43%
Jervois 38.1 +1.3 41.9 7th 22.9 +0.8 15.2 2nd 5.4 58.7 low 9%
Kulgera 36.0 +0.5 41.0 23rd 21.0 -0.5 12.0 2nd 8.5 36.8 average 23%
Rabbit Flat 39.3 +2.1 44.3 7th 23.5 0.0 19.4 6th 79.4 98.9 average 80%
Territory Grape Farm 37.9 +1.7 42.8 24th 22.0 +0.4 14.9 3rd 8.0 68.0 low 12%
Walungurru 39.0 +0.2 43.6 7th 25.2 -0.7 19.9 27th 38.8 32.4 average 120%
Yulara Aero 37.4 +0.6 44.2 23rd 22.3 +0.2 15.7 2nd 16.6 39.0 average 43%

Notes

This statement was prepared before all data for the period were available. This may affect some of the statistics presented.

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 2 pm on Thursday 28 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
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