Northern Territory in December 2013: A return to normal temperatures

  • Average temperatures for most of the NT
  • Records
    • 5 low temperature records, no high temperature records
    • One daily rainfall record and One total rainfall record
  • Extremes
    • Hottest day 44.8 °C at Jervois on the 9th and on the 31st
    • Coldest night 12.3 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 6th
    • Wettest day 113.0 mm at Snowdrop Creek on the 29th

Monthly Summary

After a year of hot weather, December was quite average in terms of both maximum and minimum temperatures across the NT. Both Darwin and Alice Springs some some exceptionally hot and cool days but ended the month near average. rainfall was also near average for most of the NT, with dry conditions over Arnhem Land being the exception. Most of the month saw monsoon break conditions, but one last monsoon burst for the year brought thick cloud cover, lower temperatures and some rainfall to the western Top End.

Rainfall

When averaged across the Territory, this months rainfall of 69.5 mm was only 5 mm below the December mean. The month began with the Top End under monsoon break conditions with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Toward the end of the month the monsoon reformed off the north coast and moved south over the continent on the 25th and the 26th. However, the northwest coast was the only region that saw much rainfall from this monsoon event and rainfall totals were relatively small. The eastern Top End was left dry and ended the month with below average rainfall. Several locations across the Top End had their lowest total December rainfall on record.

The souther portions saw a few rainfall events this month from the passage frontal systems along the southern border. Rabbit Flat was the only site to see their highest December daily rainfall on record this month when 74.4 mm fell on the 5th.

The locations to see the highest rainfall this month was Pirlangimpi with 428.4 mm, followed by Cape Don with 413.2 mm, and then Channel Point with 333.4 mm. In contrast, the driest overall Wallace Rock Hole with 9.2 mm, followed by Ngukurr with 10.8 mm.

The wettest single day was the 24 hour period to 9 am on the 29th when 113.0 mm fell at Snowdrop Creek, Wandie Creek had 100.6 mm and Mount Stow measured 82.4 mm.

Temperature

The mean temperature for the Northern Territory for December was 30.2 °C, which is 0.2 below the long-tem average. The warmest on average was Ngukurr with 32.2 °C, followed by Brunette Downs with 32.0 °C, and then Elliott and McArthur River Mine with 31.5 °C. The coolest on average was Arltunga with 27.2 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 27.8 °C, and then Kulgera with 28.2 °C.

Maximum temperature

After 18 months of above average maximum temperatures in the NT, December 2013 was below average. The mean maximum temperature in the NT this month was 36.32 °C, this is 0.49 °C below the long-term December average. Three sites, Point Fawcett, Dum-In-Mirrie and Port Keats Aero, saw their coldest December day (lowest maximum temperature) on record on the 25th and 26th as monsoon activity, including thick cloud cover and rainfall, affected the northwest Top End.

Darwin Airport ended the month with an mean daily maximum temperature of 32.6 °C, which equals the long-term average. The coolest day at Darwin Airport this month was on the 26th when the daytime temperature reached only 28.1 °C. The warmest day was the 7th with a maximum temperature of 35.2 °C.

Alice Springs saw some hot days and some cool days, this month, and ended the month with a mean daily maximum temperature of 35.6 °C, this is 0.2 °C above average. The coolest day at Alice Springs was on the 23rd when the daytime temperature reached only 20.6 °C. Alice Springs rose above 40 °C eleven times this month, including four consecutive days from the 19th through the 21st, inclusive, and another hot spell that ran from the 28th into early January.

The hottest place anywhere in the NT, this month, was at Jervois where the daytime maximum reached 44.8 °C on the 9th and then again on the 31st. Jervois also reached 44.0 °C a third time this month on the 30th. The coldest day was the 23rd when the temperature reached only 18.8 °C at Arltunga and 20.6 °C at Alice Springs Airport.

The warmest days on average were at Brunette Downs with 39.1 °C, followed by Ngukurr with 38.7 °C, and then Elliott with 38.4 °C. The coolest days on average were at McCluer Island with 31.8 °C, followed by Darwin Harbour and Dum In Mirrie with 32.2 °C.

Minimum temperature

The average minimum temperature for the NT in December was 24.0 °C, 0.1 °C above average. With a daily minimum temperature of only 21.9 °C on the 20th, Point Fawcett had their lowest December temperature on record. Groote Eylandt Airport had their lowest December mean daily minimum temperature on record with a mean daily minimum temperature of 23.9 °C. While there was only one monthly mean minimum temperature record set, several places came close: With a mean daily minimum of 23.8 °C, Gove Airport saw their third coolest December on record; likewise, Borroloola had their third coolest December with 24.3 °C; and Batchelor, with a mean daily minimum of 23.9 °C had their third coolest December.

Darwin Airport ended the month only slightly below average with a mean daily minimum temperature of 25.0 °C. Alice Springs was also a little below average with a mean daily minimum temperature of 20.0 °C, which tied with Arltunga for the coolest mean daily minimum in the NT this month.

The coldest night was at Alice Springs Airport with 12.3 °C on the 6th. The Alice Springs region also saw a drop in temperatures on the 12th when Kulgera dropped to 12.4 °C and Curtin Springs had 12.6 °C. The warmest nights in the Territory in December. was at Cape Don with 29.5 °C on the 16th, and Katherine Country Club also with 29.5 °C on the 20th.

The warmest nights on average were at Centre Island with 27.3 °C, followed by McCluer Island with 27.2 °C.

Wind

The strongest wind gust was at Douglas River with 89 km/h on the 14th, followed by Lajamanu with 81 km/h on the 19th, and McArthur River Mine also with 81 km/h on the 28th.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in December 2013
Hottest day 44.8 °C at Jervois on the 9th
44.8 °C at Jervois on the 31st
Warmest days on average 39.1 °C at Brunette Downs
Coolest days on average 31.8 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 18.8 °C at Arltunga on the 23rd
Coldest night 12.3 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 6th
Coolest nights on average 20.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport
20.0 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 27.3 °C at Centre Island
Warmest night 29.5 °C at Cape Don on the 16th
Warmest on average overall 32.2 °C at Ngukurr
Coolest on average overall 27.2 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 428.4 mm at Pirlangimpi
Driest overall 9.2 mm at Wallace Rock Hole
Wettest day 113.0 mm at Snowdrop Creek on the 29th
Highest wind gust 89 km/h at Douglas River on the 14th

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 December daily rainfall
Highest daily rainfall
in December 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for December
Years of
record
Rabbit Flat 74.4 on the 5th 53.8 on the 4th in 1999 18



Record highest total December rainfall
Total rainfall
for December 2013 (mm)
Previous wettest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Upper Wickham River 204.0 190.4 in 2012 10 122.0




Record lowest total December rainfall
Total rainfall
for December 2013 (mm)
Previous driest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Adelaide River Post Office 77.0 94.0 in 2012 50 249.4
CSIRO Berrimah 62.0 117.8 in 2002 18 330.3
Walker Creek 97.0 213.2 in 2001 17 298.3
Darwin River Ridge 45.6 112.6 in 2005 13 299.5
Bulman 55.4 90.2 in 2002 12 211.9
Central Arnhem Plateau 42.4 196.4 in 2012 11 284.8
Edith Farms Road 141.5 156.3 in 2004 11 303.9



Record lowest December daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in December 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Point Fawcett 26.9 on the 25th 28.0 on the 9th in 1998 17 32.4
Dum In Mirrie 26.9 on the 26th 27.0 on the 13th in 2009 16 32.5
Port Keats Aero 25.6 on the 26th 26.2 on the 18th in 2008 14 33.5



Record lowest December temperature
Lowest temperature
in December 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Point Fawcett 21.9 on the 20th 22.0 on the 7th in 2002 17 25.5



Record lowest December mean daily minimum temperature
Mean daily minimum
temperature
for December 2013 (°C)
Previous coolest
for December
Years of
record
Average for
December
Groote Eylandt Airport 23.9 24.1 in 2006 14 25.0




Summary statistics for December 2013
Maximum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for December
(°C)
Rainfall
for December
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2013
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2013
Mean for
December
2013
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2013
Total for
December
2013
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2013
Fraction of
December
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 33.8 0.0 36.6 12th 23.9 -0.2 21.8 29th 215.6 265.3 average 81%
Black Point 33.0 +0.5 35.3 9th 25.6 -0.5 23.4 30th 141.8 212.0 average 67%
Bradshaw 36.8 +0.3 41.3 13th 25.4 0.0 22.0 17th 162.6 169.6 average 96%
Cape Don 33.4   37.7 12th 26.3   23.2 21st 413.2 272.7 v high 152%
Central Arnhem Plateau 34.1 +0.9 37.0 12th 23.3 -0.3 21.1 27th 42.4 284.8 lowest 15%
Croker Island Airport 33.4   35.3 8th 25.9   23.6 27th 114.8
Darwin Airport 32.6 0.0 35.2 7th 25.0 -0.3 22.8 17th 209.4 250.8 average 83%
Darwin Harbour 32.2   34.4 11th 26.1   21.2 16th
Delamere Weapons Range 35.7 0.0 39.8 15th 24.7 +0.2 22.2 26th 178.4 174.0 average 103%
Douglas River 35.4 +0.4 38.6 13th 24.3 +0.6 21.1 15th 132.0 206.0 low 64%
Dum In Mirrie 32.2 -0.3 33.9 20th 25.6 -0.5 22.9 16th 205.6 272.7 average 75%
Gunn Point 32.5   34.8 11th 24.0   21.1 20th 204.0
Jabiru Airport 35.6 +0.6 37.6 14th 25.2 +0.3 22.3 1st 237.8 234.8 average 101%
Katherine Country Club 36.7   38.8 14th 24.9   22.7 1st 165.9
Mango Farm 35.3 +0.5 37.5 11th 23.4 -0.4 20.9 6th 156.6 243.8 low 64%
McCluer Island 31.8 -0.2 33.2 15th 27.2 +0.2 24.2 27th 68.6 210.3 low 33%
Middle Point 34.5 -0.5 36.9 31st 24.1 0.0 21.9 29th 309.4 243.3 average 127%
Murganella Airstrip 33.6   36.5 15th 24.4   23.4 11th 127.2
Noonamah (Mkt) 34.1   36.6 31st 24.6   22.6 29th 227.2
Oenpelli Airport 35.9   37.9 11th 24.9   22.7 1st 91.8
Pirlangimpi 32.9 +0.2 35.5 9th 24.5 -0.2 22.9 18th 428.4 350.0 average 122%
Point Fawcett 32.5 +0.1 34.6 17th 24.8 -0.7 21.9 20th 0 292.3 lowest 0%
Point Stuart 33.8   36.1 17th 25.1   22.6 1st 279.8 210.6 average 133%
Port Keats Aero 33.5 0.0 36.3 18th 24.7 -0.8 23.0 14th 215.8 165.3 high 131%
Tindal RAAF 36.4 +0.8 39.1 15th 24.7 -0.1 22.3 6th 179.6 202.5 average 89%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 32.7   34.2 31st 25.9   23.8 1st 114.8 135.8 average 85%
Gove Airport 32.7 -0.2 34.9 14th 23.8 -0.8 22.5 5th 90.6 178.9 low 51%
Groote Eylandt Airport 34.2 0.0 36.7 7th 23.9 -1.1 21.8 7th 127.4 185.0 low 69%
Maningrida Aero 33.0 -0.3 35.4 7th 25.0 -0.3 23.1 6th 151.6 165.7 average 91%
Milingimbi 33.3 -0.4 35.9 7th 25.4 -0.6 23.7 29th 180.2 141.6 average 127%
Ngayawili 32.9 +0.1 36.0 7th 25.1 -0.5 22.9 1st 123.6 249.9 average 49%
North East Island 33.9   35.9 14th 26.9   24.8 1st 33.2 92.0 average 36%
Warruwi 33.0 -0.2 34.9 31st 26.5 +0.3 23.7 1st 117.4 194.4 average 60%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 36.7 +0.4 40.6 14th 24.3 -0.9 21.5 17th 27.8 138.1 low 20%
Bulman 36.1 -1.1 38.7 31st 24.4 -0.4 21.9 10th 55.4 211.9 lowest 26%
Centre Island 35.0 +0.4 37.6 14th 27.3 0.0 23.7 28th 73.6 135.2 average 54%
Daly Waters 38.1 +0.8 41.5 15th 24.7 +0.5 21.7 8th 77.0 103.7 average 74%
McArthur River Mine 37.8 +0.1 41.5 14th 25.3 +0.4 22.3 20th 54.8 121.3 low 45%
Ngukurr 38.7   41.4 14th 25.6   23.3 7th 10.8
Wollogorang     41.3 31st 23.6 -0.6 19.5 14th 25.2 155.1 v low 16%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu 38.0 0.0 42.7 10th 24.2 +0.1 19.5 31st 106.2 76.8 high 138%
Timber Creek 36.8 -0.4 39.9 13th 25.0 -0.4 22.1 26th 196.3 174.9 high 112%
Victoria River Downs 36.5 -1.3 40.2 15th 24.7 -0.4 22.7 16th 209.2 117.8 high 178%
Wave Hill 37.0 -1.1 41.5 10th 24.6 +0.1 21.5 25th 140.7 117.2 high 120%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 39.1 +0.7 42.7 30th 25.0 +0.7 19.2 6th 69.2 67.1 average 103%
Elliott 38.4 -0.2 41.6 15th 24.7 +0.4 21.0 14th 75.9 95.7 average 79%
Tennant Creek Airport 37.9 +0.7 42.1 9th 24.8 -0.1 21.1 5th 42.4 69.6 average 61%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Ali Curung 37.7 -0.1 43.8 30th 23.1 0.0 18.2 14th 31.4 61.5 average 51%
Alice Springs Airport 35.6 +0.2 43.5 31st 20.0 -0.2 12.3 6th 29.2 36.8 average 79%
Arltunga 34.3 -0.1 41.5 31st 20.0 -0.2 14.3 27th 43.2 39.6 average 109%
Curtin Springs 36.4 +0.1 43.0 19th 20.7 +0.2 12.6 12th 31.5 29.2 high 108%
Jervois 37.7 0.0 44.8 31st 22.4 +1.1 15.1 6th 19.0 38.0 average 50%
Kulgera 35.1 +0.1 43.4 20th 21.2 +0.9 12.4 12th 33.2 32.8 average 101%
Rabbit Flat 37.0 -1.5 41.7 20th 23.8 +0.2 19.9 5th 92.8 74.5 average 125%
Territory Grape Farm 35.7 -0.6 42.3 31st 21.7 +0.7 16.1 6th 83.0 48.0 high 173%
Walungurru 38.0 -0.2 43.1 29th 24.6 -0.2 19.1 23rd 46.2 42.9 average 108%
Yuendumu 36.3 +0.1 42.4 31st 22.8 +1.4 17.7 24th 11.6 46.0 low 25%
Yulara Aero 36.7 +0.3 43.8 28th 20.7 0.0 14.1 12th 15.2 40.3 average 38%

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 12 pm on Friday 3 January 2014. 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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is being used for temperature area averages from December 2012 onwards. The major change from earlier datasets is that the ACORN-SAT dataset commences in 1910, rather than 1950, and hence rankings are calculated using a larger set of years.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries