Northern Territory in August 2013: 4th hottest August on record

  • Records:
    • 6 new daily maximum temperature records
    • Timber Creek sets new NT record with 39.7 °C on the 20th
    • 2 rainfall records set from one rainfall event
  • Temperatures (NT Average):
    • Mean - very much above average
    • Maximum (daytime) - 4th warmest on record
    • Minimum (overnight) - cooler than average in the north but warmer in the south
  • Rainfall:
    • Record setting rainfall event over northwest Top End on the 23rd
  • Extremes:
    • Hottest day was 39.7 °C at Timber Creek on the 20th
    • Coldest night was -1.6 °C at Arltunga on the 4th

Bushfires

The month began with several bushfires burning across the Top End. At least three fires were active on the Tiwi Islands and a large fire burnt near the Arnhem Highway in August. Smoke and haze was a dominant feature of the atmosphere around Darwin early in the month.

Timber Creek sets new NT temperature record

On the 20th, Timber Creek reached a maximum temperature of 39.7 °C. This is half a degree hotter than the previous record highest August daily maximum temperate of 39.2 °C measured at Mango Farm on 25 August 1998. Timber Creek also tied the second hottest August day on record for all of Australia (39.7 °C at Wyndham Aero, WA, on 31 August 2009).

Rainfall

Leading into the third week of August, humidity levels and temperatures began to rise across the northwest Top End. Meanwhile a cool, dry, continental air mass pushed north and reached the north coast overnight on the 22nd. The cool air lifted the more humid air and acted as a trigger for a little dry season precipitation. Rain fell over the northwest Top End overnight on the 22nd and by the morning of the 23rd Darwin River Ridge had 17.6 mm sitting in the rain gauge making this the wettest single day this month. Other daily rainfall totals on the 23rd include Darwin River Dam with 15.9 mm and Karama with 14.2 mm. Darwin Airport received 2.4 mm, making this the wettest August day since 19 August 1997 (and highest August total rainfall since 1997).

When averaged across the Territory, 4.28 mm fell this month in the NT. This is only 0.13 mm below the long term average and the driest August in three years. Included in that average are 50 sites that did not record any rainfall this month. The wettest overall was Darwin River Ridge with 17.8 mm, which was their highest August daily rainfall on record and also their lowest total August rainfall on record, followed by Darwin River Dam with 17.1 mm, and then Karama with 14.2 mm.

Temperature

The mean temperature (average of daily maximum and daily minimum) for the NT in August was 21.8 °C, which is 1.6 above normal (mean = 20.20), the 9th highest on record and the highest since 2009. The warmest locations on average were Cape Don with 27.3 °C, followed by Cape Wessel with 27.1 °C, and then Jabiru Airport with 27.0 °C. The coolest on average was Arltunga with 15.4 °C, followed by Curtin Springs with 16.3 °C, and then Kulgera and Yulara Aero both with 16.4 °C.

Maximum temperature

Maximum temperatures were very much above average across the Territory this month. This month was the second hottest August on record, for the NT, with a mean daily maximum temperature of 30.6 °C, which is 2.7 °C above average. There were several possible contributors to the warm daytime temperatures, this month. The month began with a negative Indian Ocean Dipole that contributed to stronger than normal easterlies across the Top End. In addition, the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) was in a strong negative phase for the first half of the month. A negative SAM manifests itself as fewer and/or weaker high pressure systems in the Great Australasian Bight (more frontal systems impacting Tasmania and the southern coast), fewer/weaker highs means less of an opportunity for a southerly surge of cool air to reach the Top End or North Coast. Hence the SAM was a possible contributor to above average temperatures.

The last week of the month saw especially hot weather in the Alice Springs District. A slow moving trough advanced a strong north-westerly wind ahead of the trough which brought warmer air into the region. On the 30th Alice Spring Airport reached 35.1 °C, only 0.1 °C below their August record. And then on the 31st Tennant Creek Airport, Territory Grape Farm and Arltunga experienced their highest August temperature on record.

Around the Territory, the hottest day was at Timber Creek with 39.7 °C on the 20th which set a new NT record for the highest August temperature and tied with Wyndham Aero, WA as the second highest August temperature on record for Australia. Bradshaw was the next hottest location, this month, with 38.7 °C on the 20th and 38.5 °C on the 19th.

The warmest days on average were at Bradshaw with 35.3 °C, followed by Oenpelli Airport with 35.2 °C, and then Douglas River with 35.0 °C. For Bradshaw and Douglas River this was their highest August mean daily maximum temperature on record.

For August being a winter month, the coldest days in the NT were relatively warm. The coldest days were measured at Kulgera with 20.1 °C on the 20th, and Arltunga also with 20.1 °C on the 22nd, followed by Arltunga with 20.4 °C on the 3rd, and then Kulgera with 20.5 °C on the 22nd. The coolest days on average were at Kulgera with 25.4 °C, followed by Arltunga with 26.1 °C, and then Curtin Springs with 26.5 °C.

Minimum temperature

This month the mean minimum temperature for the NT was 0.5 °C above average with 13 °C (the long term average is 12.5 °C) with the Top End seeing average to below average minimum temperatures while the Alice Springs Distirct saw average to above average temperature.

The warmest night was at Timber Creek with 25.3 °C on the 22nd. McCluer Island saw the next warmest nights, this month, with 25.2 °C on the 29th, followed 25.2 °C on the 31st and then 25.1 °C on the 30th. McCluer Island had the warmest nights on average with a monthly mean daily minimum temperature of 23.8 °C, followed by Cape Wessel with 23.7 °C, and then Cape Don with 22.9 °C.

The coldest nights in the NT were at Arltunga with -1.6 °C on the 4th, -0.6 °C on the 3rd, and then -0.5 °C on the 5th. It is no surprise, then, that the coolest nights on average were at Arltunga with 4.8 °C. The next coolest on average was Curtin Springs with 6.0 °C, followed by Yulara Aero with 6.1 °C.

Walungurru was the only location to set a new minimum temperature record this month. With 20.1 °C on the 31st, Walungurru had its warmest August night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record

Wind

The strongest wind gust was at Bradshaw with 70 km/h on the 3rd, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 65 km/h on the 16th, and then Jabiru Airport with 63 km/h on the 3rd and Yulara Aero also with 63 km/h on the 28th.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in August 2013
Hottest day 39.7 °C at Timber Creek on the 20th
Warmest days on average 35.3 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 25.4 °C at Kulgera
Coldest day 20.1 °C at Kulgera on the 20th
20.1 °C at Arltunga on the 22nd
Coldest night -1.6 °C at Arltunga on the 4th
Coolest nights on average 4.8 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 23.8 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 25.3 °C at Timber Creek on the 22nd
Warmest on average overall 27.3 °C at Cape Don
Coolest on average overall 15.4 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 17.8 mm at Darwin River Ridge
Wettest day 17.6 mm at Darwin River Ridge on the 23rd
Highest wind gust 70 km/h at Bradshaw on the 3rd

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 August daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in August 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for August
Years of
record
Point Fawcett 3.6 on the 23rd 2.4 on the 1st in 2010 18
Darwin River Ridge 17.6 on the 23rd 14.6 on the 1st in 2010 12



Record highest total August rainfall
Total rainfall
for August 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Point Fawcett 3.6 3.0 in 2003 18 0.7
Darwin River Ridge 17.8 14.6 in 2010 12 3.1



Record highest August temperature
Highest temperature
in August 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Tennant Creek Airport 36.0 on the 31st 35.7 on the 29th in 2009 45 27.5
Daly Waters AWS 37.5 on the 19th 37.2 on the 31st in 2009 44 31.0
Jabiru Airport 38.1 on the 20th 38.0 on the 31st in 2009 36 33.7
Kulgera 34.5 on the 30th = 34.5 on the 22nd in 1995 33 22.0
Timber Creek 39.7 on the 20th 38.8 on the 31st in 2009 33 32.9
Pirlangimpi 35.7 on the 31st 35.6 on the 28th in 2012 31 32.0
Territory Grape Farm 35.9 on the 31st 35.2 on the 29th in 2009 22 25.2
Batchelor Aero 36.8 on the 20th 36.6 on the 26th in 2012 17 33.3
Delamere Weapons Range 37.1 on the 19th 37.0 on the 31st in 2000 17 31.6
Rabbit Flat 38.2 on the 30th 37.3 on the 25th in 2009 17 29.4
Arltunga 35.0 on the 31st 34.0 on the 29th in 2009 13 22.9



Record highest August mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for August 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Pirlangimpi 33.8 33.4 in 1998 30 32.0
Douglas River 35.0 34.8 in 2009 24 33.5
Lajamanu 32.7 = 32.7 in 1971 18 29.6
Delamere Weapons Range 33.3 = 33.3 in 2009 16 31.6
Bradshaw 35.3 35.1 in 2009 14 33.4
Walungurru 29.4 = 29.4 in 2002 10 26.6




Record highest August daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in August 2013 (°C)
Previous warmest
for August
Years of
record
Average for
August
Walungurru 20.1 on the 31st 18.7 on the 22nd in 2010 11 12.3




Summary statistics for August 2013
Maximum temperatures
for August
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for August
(°C)
Rainfall
for August
(millimetres)
Mean for
August
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
August
2013
Mean for
August
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
August
2013
Total for
August
2013
Average
for
August
Rank of
August
2013
Fraction of
August
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 33.9 +0.6 36.8 20th 17.0 0.0 12.5 5th 1.0 2.7 high 37%
Black Point 30.8 +0.3 32.0 31st 21.3 +0.1 17.8 1st 0 1.3 lowest 0%
Bradshaw 35.3 +1.9 38.7 20th 16.8 +0.4 8.9 4th 0 0.1 lowest 0%
Cape Don 31.6   32.6 31st 22.9   20.5 11th 0 1.1 lowest 0%
Central Arnhem Plateau 32.1   35.6 21st 14.9   10.0 4th 0 1.2 lowest 0%
Croker Island Airport 30.6   32.3 31st 21.4   19.0 9th 0
Darwin Airport 32.1 +0.7 34.3 19th 19.4 -1.0 15.8 8th 2.4 5.0 high 48%
Darwin NTC AWS 30.2   32.5 21st 22.4   20.5 12th
Delamere Weapons Range 33.3 +1.7 37.1 19th 16.2 +0.3 10.5 8th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
Douglas River 35.0 +1.5 38.3 19th 13.8 -0.3 7.5 8th 0 1.4 lowest 0%
Dum In Mirrie AWS 31.0 +0.5 33.4 25th 19.2 0.0 15.3 5th 0.4 3.3 average 12%
Gunn Point AWS 32.0   34.6 19th 17.0   12.5 5th 11.8
Jabiru Airport 34.8 +1.1 38.1 20th 19.1 0.0 15.2 10th 0 2.7 lowest 0%
Katherine Country Club 33.8   37.2 20th 13.6   7.9 4th 0
Mango Farm 34.4 +1.0 38.0 21st 14.4 -1.4 8.0 8th 2.0 2.1 high 95%
McCluer Island 27.8 +0.1 28.9 8th 23.8 +0.7 22.3 5th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
Middle Point AWS 34.9 +1.0 36.9 31st 14.6 -0.3 7.7 5th 5.8 1.2 high 483%
Murganella Airstrip     33.1 15th 16.7   10.9 4th 0
Noonamah (Mkt) AWS 34.4   37.1 20th 16.5   10.2 4th 1.6
Oenpelli Airport 35.2   37.2 21st 17.9   12.5 9th 0
Pirlangimpi 33.8 +1.8 35.7 31st 18.8 -0.3 14.6 8th 1.4 6.5 average 22%
Point Fawcett 31.7 +1.0 33.4 27th 17.5 -1.3 13.3 7th 3.6 0.7 highest 514%
Point Stuart AWS 31.8   33.2 23rd 18.5   12.3 4th 0 3.5 lowest 0%
Port Keats Aero 32.1 +0.3 34.5 25th 17.5 +0.2 11.8 6th 0.6 0.3 high 200%
Tindal RAAF 33.7 +1.6 37.2 19th 13.1 -2.1 8.2 6th 0 1.3 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 30.5   31.3 30th 23.7   22.1 9th
Gove Airport 29.3 +0.7 31.0 22nd 17.5 -1.6 11.5 8th 2.6 5.4 average 48%
Groote Eylandt Airport AWS 30.5 +0.4 32.9 21st 14.4 -0.7 9.4 9th 0 0.9 lowest 0%
Maningrida Aero 31.0   33.5 23rd 17.7   12.7 9th 0.2 0.9 average 22%
Milingimbi AWS 30.6 0.0 32.9 21st 18.8 -0.3 14.9 7th 0 3.2 lowest 0%
Ngayawili 30.7 +0.3 32.6 30th 19.5 +0.2 15.0 9th 0.4 1.2 low 33%
North East Island 28.3   30.1 30th 21.9   19.0 10th 0.6 1.4 average 43%
Warruwi 29.4 +0.1 31.2 15th 22.0 +0.3 18.2 8th 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 33.4 +1.5 36.3 15th 12.9 -0.8 7.0 6th 0.4 0.7 average 57%
Centre Island 29.2 +1.4 32.2 30th 19.7 +0.2 17.0 7th 2.6 1.6 high 163%
Daly Waters AWS 33.4 +2.4 37.5 19th 10.9 -2.0 5.2 7th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine 33.7 +1.7 37.4 19th 14.0 +0.7 7.9 5th 0 0.3 lowest 0%
Ngukurr AWS 33.4   36.5 15th 14.0   7.5 9th 0
Wollogorang 33.0 +1.9 36.6 19th 11.5 -0.6 6.0 5th 0 0.6 lowest 0%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu 32.7 +3.1 37.5 31st 11.2 +0.2 3.9 5th 0 0.8 lowest 0%
Timber Creek 34.6 +1.7 39.7 20th 13.9 -1.9 8.9 5th 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Victoria River Downs 34.1 +2.2 38.2 19th 12.4 -0.8 6.1 7th 0 1.0 lowest 0%
Wave Hill 33.0 +1.9 37.4 20th 12.2 -0.5 5.3 5th 0 0.9 lowest 0%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 31.9 +2.3 37.1 31st 12.9 +0.4 6.9 7th 0 1.3 lowest 0%
Elliott 32.5 +1.2 37.2 31st 14.3 +1.1 8.7 6th 0 1.1 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 30.2 +2.7 36.0 31st 15.6 +1.2 10.0 5th 0 1.5 lowest 0%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 26.6 +4.0 35.1 30th 7.1 +1.1 2.4 3rd 0 9.0 lowest 0%
Arltunga 26.1 +3.2 35.0 31st 4.8 -0.2 -1.6 4th 0 6.7 lowest 0%
Curtin Springs 26.5 +3.5 34.5 30th 6.0 +0.3 1.5 17th 0 8.2 lowest 0%
Jervois 28.1 +3.1 37.1 31st 8.9 +1.8 3.5 22nd 0 7.4 lowest 0%
Kulgera 25.4 +3.4 34.5 30th 7.8 +1.1 2.5 23rd 0 8.7 lowest 0%
Rabbit Flat 32.2 +2.8 38.2 30th 8.6 +0.2 2.1 5th 0 1.4 lowest 0%
Territory Grape Farm 28.5 +3.3 35.9 31st 8.7 +1.7 3.1 4th 0 4.9 lowest 0%
Walungurru 29.4 +2.8 34.8 31st 13.8 +1.5 6.9 6th 0 5.4 lowest 0%
Yulara Aero 26.8 +3.2 34.6 30th 6.1 +0.2 0.7 4th 0 4.6 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 1 pm on Monday 2 September 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