Northern Territory in January 2014: A hot start to an overall cool, wet month

After a record-setting hot start to the month across the whole Territory, a monsoon moved into place in the second week of the month and remaind for the rest of the month.
  • Hottest January day on record for Darwin Airport
  • Monsoon returns to the Top End
  • Month begins with record high temperatures

Monsoon brings rainfall to the Top End

An active and prolonged monsoonal period set in around the 10th of the month at Darwin and across the rest of the Top End shortly afterward. The monsoon produced continual, and at time heavy, rainfall over the Top End. By the end of the month two locations had received over 800 mm of rainfall, Litchfield with 831.0 mm, and Dum In Mirrie with 821.6 mm. Averaged across the NT there was 195.5 mm of rainfall this month which is 63% higher than the average January rainfall.

On the 10th a low pressure system formed within the monsoon trough off the northeast coast of the Top End and moved west causing monsoonal showers and squally storms along the north coast. The centre of the low moved over land near the Coburg Peninsula on the 14th and then moved across the western Top End on the 14th and 15th. Some of the highest 24 hour rainfall totals in the NT this month were recorded to 9am on the 15th including Wollogorang, with 221.4 mm, and Elizabeth Valley with 205.6 mm, a new January daily rainfall record for both these sites. The low continued inland along the NT/WA boarder producing heavy rainfall over the Victoria River District and northern Alice Springs District. Rabbit Flat measured 82.8 mm on the 17th and 72.0 mm on the 18th, ending the month with a total of 385.6 mm, a new total January rainfall record record for that site.

Month starts with record hot days

Temperatures were exceptionally warm across the NT in the first week of the month. In the southern half of the NT the 1st, 2nd and 3rd were by far the hottest days of the month. On the 2nd, the temperature at Jervois got up to 46.4 °C while Ali Curung reached 46.1 °C (a new January record for this site), and Brunette Downs had a daily maximum of 45.6 °C. Tennant Creek Airport also saw 45.6 °C but on the 3rd. Yulara Aero started the month with 44.4 °C, their hottest day this month.

High temperatures were also experienced across the Top End a few days later. Several Top End sites had their highest January temperature on record on the 7th, 8th or 9th of the month. Some of these include Port Keats Aero with 38.9 °C on the 8th (previous record was 38.0 °C on 16 Jan 2003), Jabiru Airport with 38.4 °C on the 8th (previous record was 38.0 °C on 13 January 1992), and Bradshaw with 41.5 °C on the 9th (previous record was 41.4 °C on 13 January 2012).

By the second week of the month, monsoonal conditions set in across the northern half of the NT and a cool change was experienced in the south. Lower temperatures persisted for the rest of the month and meant the mean maximum temperature for January for the NT was 35.9 °C, which is half a degree below the January average.

Near average minimum temperatures

Minimum temperatures were near average in the first week of the month, which was followed by about two weeks of below average minima across the Territory. From the 5th through the 10th Alice Springs Airport saw minimum temperatures that were at least five degrees below average for January with the 8th being the coldest night at Alice Springs Airport with 12.4 °C. However, in the last week of the month overnight temperatures began to creep up again across the Alice Springs District while temperatures across the rest of the Territory stayed close to normal. The average minimum temperature across the NT for January was 24.0 °C, this is only about 0.3 °C above normal for the month.

A few sites had record high minimum temperatures, mostly within the first week when daytime temperatures and humidity were also high across the Top End. In the following week there were some record low temperatures when rain, cloud and a refreshingly cool change set in across the northern half of the Territory

Significant wind gusts

On the 28th a gusty thunderstorm moved across Uluru and Yulara. While Yulara Aero measured only 0.4 mm of rainfall, it was walloped with a 104 km/h wind gust; the strongest in the Territory this month.

Along the north coast Cape Wessel measured a maximum wind gust of 94 km/h on the 14th as a monsoonal low moved across the region. Likewise, monsoon activity over the Gulf of Carpentaria struck up a wind gust of 93 km/h at Centre Island on the 26th.

Monsoon replaces heat at Darwin

The month started with very much above average temperatures at Darwin Airport. On the 6th Darwin set a new January daily maximum temperature record when the mercury rose to 36.0 °C only to break this record again on the next day with 36.1 °C. (The previous hottest January day was 35.6 °C on 4 January 1985). The high temperature on the 7th was measured coincident with nearly 70% relative humidity. A few days later a monsoon trough began to organise to the north of Darwin and the high temperatures were replaced by thick cloud and continual rainfall. On the 14th, the temperature at Darwin Airport stayed around 25 °C for most of the day (but rose to 28 °C briefly overnight, which was recorded as the maximum temperature for the day), a stark contrast to the record high temperatures experienced only one week earlier. The highest daily rainfall at Darwin Airport this month was to 9am on the 29th with 81.4 mm. The total rainfall for the month was 610.2 mm (long-term January mean is 423.8 mm)

A cool change comes to Alice Springs

Alice Springs Airport began the month with a string of six consecutive days above 40 °C from 28 December 2013 to 2 January 2014 which included 44.9 °C on the 2nd of this month (only 0.3 °C below the highest January temperature on record at Alice Springs). This hot spell was followed by a cool change which, although it included some warm days, bottomed out with a daily maximum temperature of 24.5 °C. In addition to the cool temperatures, Alice Springs also received some rainfall from the 16th through the 20th. The highest daily rainfall was 16.8 mm, measured in the 24 hours to 9am on the 18th. Alice Springs Airport ended the month with 31.6 mm of rain (January mean is 38.5 mm and is usually the wettest month of the year at Alice Springs).

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Extremes in January 2014
Hottest day 46.4 °C at Jervois on the 2nd
Warmest days on average 38.2 °C at Jervois
Coolest days on average 31.1 °C at Darwin Harbour
Coldest day 23.9 °C at Walungurru on the 18th
Coldest night 12.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 8th
Coolest nights on average 22.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 26.3 °C at Centre Island
Warmest night 32.4 °C at Jervois on the 3rd
Warmest on average overall 31.5 °C at Jervois
Coolest on average overall 27.4 °C at Central Arnhem Plateau
Wettest overall 831.0 mm at Litchfield
Driest overall 3.4 mm at Gemtree Park
Wettest day 221.4 mm at Wollogorang on the 15th
Highest wind gust 104 km/h at Yulara Aero on the 28th

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 2014 (mm)
Previous wettest
for January
Years of
record
Wollogorang 221.4 on the 15th 167.8 on the 29th in 2010 39
Elizabeth Valley 205.6 on the 15th 161.0 on the 13th in 2003 28
Upper Adelaide River 158.8 on the 15th 117.6 on the 19th in 2003 12
Walungurru 65.4 on the 18th 54.0 on the 26th in 2002 12
Pigeon Hole 113.0 on the 22nd 81.5 on the 26th in 2006 11
Majestic Orchids 153.4 on the 15th 105.4 on the 24th in 2012 10
The Chase 125.8 on the 29th =125.8 on the 13th in 2010 10



Record highest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
for January 2014 (mm)
Previous wettest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Centre Island 672.6 631.2 in 1993 45 226.2
North East Island 437.8 385.4 in 2003 24 125.5
Walker Creek 794.0 756.6 in 2010 20 434.3
Dum In Mirrie 821.6 573.8 in 2010 18 374.4
Rabbit Flat 385.6 299.2 in 2006 18 120.6
Geriatric Park 791.6 727.0 in 1998 16 510.3
Port Keats Aero 513.6 494.0 in 2004 14 255.8
Upper Adelaide River 706.2 586.8 in 2010 12 335.8
Upper Victoria River 350.8 = 350.8 in 2006 12 193.4
Walungurru 179.2 71.0 in 2002 12 41.7
Adelaide River East 587.5 538.0 in 2011 11 312.8
Milingimbi 394.8 391.4 in 2010 11 202.8




Record lowest total January rainfall
Total rainfall
for January 2014 (mm)
Previous driest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Wongalara 22.2 38.9 in 2012 13 181.6
Central Arnhem Plateau 46.0 185.6 in 2012 11 316.7




Record highest January temperature
Highest temperature
in January 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Darwin Airport 36.1 on the 7th 35.6 on the 4th in 1985 73 31.8
Brunette Downs 45.6 on the 2nd 44.3 on the 20th in 1985 49 37.1
Tennant Creek Airport 45.6 on the 3rd 44.2 on the 25th in 2013 45 36.7
Jabiru Airport 38.4 on the 8th 38.0 on the 13th in 1992 37 33.6
Mango Farm 39.4 on the 8th 39.0 on the 20th in 1983 34 33.6
Douglas River 40.1 on the 9th 39.2 on the 2nd in 2003 25 33.7
Ali Curung 46.1 on the 2nd 45.0 on the 29th in 1990 23 37.9
Lajamanu 44.5 on the 3rd 44.4 on the 25th in 2013 22 37.3
Borroloola 42.3 on the 3rd = 42.3 on the 16th in 2013 21 34.2
Batchelor Aero 38.5 on the 8th 37.0 on the 23rd in 1994 18 32.7
Bradshaw 41.5 on the 9th 41.4 on the 13th in 2012 15 35.1
Port Keats Aero 38.9 on the 8th 38.0 on the 11th in 2003 14 32.6
Middle Point 39.7 on the 8th 38.0 on the 16th in 2002 13 33.4
Central Arnhem Plateau 37.9 on the 8th 37.7 on the 13th in 2012 11 31.6



Record lowest January daily maximum temperature
Lowest daily maximum
temperature
in January 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Groote Eylandt Airport 26.8 on the 12th 27.0 on the 5th in 2003 15 33.3
Walungurru 23.9 on the 18th 27.7 on the 11th in 2012 12 40.2



Record lowest January mean daily maximum temperature
Mean daily maximum
temperature
for January 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Walungurru 37.3 38.4 in 2002 11 40.2




Record highest January daily minimum temperature
Highest daily minimum
temperature
in January 2014 (°C)
Previous warmest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Brunette Downs 31.5 on the 4th 31.0 on the 3rd in 1994 49 24.5
Warruwi 29.4 on the 8th 29.2 on the 10th in 1987 46 25.6
Yuendumu 30.4 on the 3rd 30.2 on the 14th in 1988 45 22.4
McCluer Island 29.6 on the 7th 29.3 on the 17th in 2012 14 26.6
Milingimbi 28.7 on the 4th 28.4 on the 27th in 2010 11 25.4



Record lowest January temperature
Lowest temperature
in January 2014 (°C)
Previous coolest
for January
Years of
record
Average for
January
Mango Farm 19.5 on the 8th = 19.5 on the 15th in 1985 34 23.8
Douglas River 18.2 on the 8th 19.5 on the 19th in 1977 25 23.8
Rabbit Flat 15.0 on the 8th 15.7 on the 4th in 2003 18 24.1
Milingimbi 20.1 on the 10th 20.3 on the 28th in 2013 11 25.4



Summary statistics for January 2014
Maximum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
for January
(°C)
Rainfall
for January
(millimetres)
Mean for
January
2014
Diff
from
average
Highest for
January
2014
Mean for
January
2014
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
January
2014
Total for
January
2014
Average
for
January
Rank of
January
2014
Fraction of
January
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Aero 32.7 0.0 38.5 8th 23.8 -0.1 21.9 27th 542.8 319.1 high 170%
Black Point 31.3 -0.2 34.6 6th 25.7 -0.1 21.2 16th 477.8 300.1 v high 159%
Bradshaw 35.9 +0.8 41.5 9th 24.9 0.0 20.7 8th 468.6 256.6 high 183%
Cape Don 32.4   35.4 7th 26.2   24.0 22nd 393.0 247.7 high 159%
Central Arnhem Plateau 31.8 +0.2 37.9 8th 23.0 -0.2 21.1 6th 46.0 316.7 lowest 15%
Channel Point 31.3 -0.4 34.5 6th 24.8 -0.2 21.9 14th 696.4 427.2 high 163%
Croker Island Airport 31.4   35.2 6th 25.8   23.9 19th 420.4
Darwin Airport 31.7 -0.1 36.1 7th 24.9 +0.1 22.6 11th 610.2 426.3 high 143%
Darwin Harbour 31.1   35.5 6th 25.5   22.9 11th
Delamere Weapons Range 35.0 +0.4 40.7 9th 24.3 +0.3 20.5 9th 208.2 190.9 average 109%
Douglas River 33.9 +0.2 40.1 9th 23.7 -0.1 18.2 8th 393.6 284.5 high 138%
Dum In Mirrie 31.4 -0.2 34.7 6th 25.5 -0.1 22.6 1st 821.6 374.4 highest 219%
Gunn Point 31.2   35.5 6th 24.6   23.0 11th 751.0
Jabiru Airport 33.5 -0.1 38.4 8th 24.9 +0.3 22.5 5th 580.6 356.2 v high 163%
Katherine Country Club 34.9   40.6 9th 24.1   20.0 9th 281.7
Mango Farm 33.7 +0.1 39.4 8th 23.4 -0.4 19.5 8th 586.8 353.4 high 166%
McCluer Island 31.2 -0.2 33.5 3rd 26.0 -0.6 23.3 9th 345.6 232.5 high 149%
Middle Point 33.0 -0.4 39.7 8th 24.2 -0.1 22.5 11th 337.0 286.1 average 118%
Murganella Airstrip 32.3   36.0 7th 24.2   22.7 27th 393.0
Noonamah (Mkt) 32.7   38.9 7th 24.5   22.8 11th 706.0
Oenpelli Airport 33.0   37.7 7th 24.5   21.5 10th 339.6
Pirlangimpi 31.9 +0.1 35.3 7th 24.3 -0.3 22.6 1st 736.8 415.2 v high 177%
Point Fawcett 31.7 +0.1 33.9 6th 25.5 -0.3 23.2 11th
Point Stuart 32.1   35.2 9th 25.0   22.3 1st 380.8 273.7 average 139%
Port Keats Aero 33.0 +0.4 38.9 8th 24.5 -0.4 21.4 8th 513.6 255.8 highest 201%
Tindal RAAF 34.4 +0.3 39.6 9th 24.1 -0.2 19.1 9th 230.8 263.7 average 88%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.8   35.5 4th 25.6   23.8 31st 414.6 233.6 high 177%
Gove Airport 31.4 -0.6 35.6 4th 24.6 -0.1 23.3 21st 515.8 278.4 v high 185%
Groote Eylandt Airport 32.4 -0.9 37.6 4th 24.9 -0.2 22.3 7th 442.8 240.9 high 184%
Maningrida Aero 32.3   36.5 6th 24.8   22.0 10th 431.0
Milingimbi 32.4 -0.4 36.8 4th 25.1 -0.3 20.1 10th 394.8 202.8 highest 195%
Ngayawili 31.4 -0.3 34.1 8th 25.5 -0.2 23.6 6th 409.8 364.5 average 112%
North East Island 32.1   35.6 4th 25.9   22.9 5th 437.8 125.5 highest 349%
Warruwi 32.1 +0.1 35.6 6th 25.6 0.0 23.4 27th 384.2 261.2 high 147%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola 34.1 -0.1 42.3 3rd 24.5 -0.3 19.6 7th 394.8 202.4 v high 195%
Centre Island 33.1 -0.5 38.3 6th 26.3 -0.4 23.5 16th 672.6 226.2 highest 297%
Daly Waters 35.4 -0.4 41.5 2nd 23.6 -0.4 17.9 8th 188.6 157.7 average 120%
McArthur River Mine 34.7 -1.3 43.0 2nd 25.0 +0.1 20.6 7th 282.0 210.3 high 134%
Ngukurr 35.5   42.9 2nd 25.3   22.6 8th 209.2
Wollogorang 34.6 -0.3 42.8 1st 24.4 +0.2 21.7 8th 539.1 241.2 v high 224%
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu 36.4 -0.9 44.5 3rd 23.9 -0.2 17.6 9th 279.0 144.0 high 194%
Timber Creek 35.7 -0.2 40.5 9th 24.3 -0.7 18.6 9th 317.4 230.3 high 138%
Victoria River Downs 35.8 -0.8 40.2 9th 24.5 -0.4 18.6 8th 88.8 153.2 average 58%
Wave Hill 35.6 -1.5 42.1 3rd 24.1 -0.3 17.8 9th 192.2 146.5 average 131%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 37.4 +0.3 45.6 2nd 25.2 +0.7 21.8 8th 74.5 105.7 average 70%
Elliott 36.6 -1.0 43.9 3rd 24.6 +0.5 22.0 9th 134.2 133.2 average 101%
Tennant Creek Airport 36.0 -0.7 45.6 3rd 24.7 -0.3 21.4 21st 165.4 111.2 high 149%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Ali Curung 37.1 -0.8 46.1 2nd 23.7 -0.1 18.6 9th 55.2 76.7 average 72%
Alice Springs Airport 36.0 -0.4 44.9 2nd 22.2 +0.7 12.4 8th 31.6 38.5 average 82%
Arltunga 35.1 -1.1 43.6 2nd 22.6 +0.4 14.9 10th 34.8 43.3 average 80%
Curtin Springs 37.3 -0.5 43.2 1st 22.8 +0.6 15.7 8th 29.4 28.3 average 104%
Jervois 38.2 -0.3 46.4 2nd 24.7 +2.0 18.4 5th 11.2 49.2 average 23%
Kulgera 36.9 0.0 44.1 30th 22.8 +0.7 13.8 8th 5.0 28.2 average 18%
Rabbit Flat 36.7 -2.1 44.9 3rd 23.2 -0.9 15.0 8th 385.6 120.6 highest 320%
Territory Grape Farm 36.3 -1.3 43.7 2nd 22.6 +0.7 16.2 8th 108.2 59.0 high 183%
Walungurru 37.3 -2.9 42.9 12th 25.5 -0.9 21.2 19th 179.2 41.7 highest 430%
Yuendumu 35.3 -1.3 42.5 2nd 23.5 +1.1 18.8 8th 203.1 66.0 v high 308%
Yulara Aero 37.1 -1.5 44.4 1st 22.8 +0.1 16.0 7th 38.0 26.8 average 142%

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 2 pm on Monday 3 February 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