Northern Territory in August 2020: Very warm throughout; good rains in the south

Dayime and overnight temperatures were above average across most of the Northern Territory in August. The Top End was especially warm with mean maximum temperatures likely the highest on record. Rainfall was near average across most regions, although parts south of about Alice Springs observed above average rainfall during the month.

Near-record daytime temperatures

  • The Territory had above average mean maximum temperatures throughout in August, with much of the Top End and Gregory District having their highest daytime temperatures on record.
  • Provisional data indicates the region of the NT north of 15 °South (roughly the Top End) had its highest mean maximum temperature on record in August; many sites across the Top End had their highest August temperature on record and/or highest August mean daily maximum temperature on record.
  • Averaged across the NT, the mean maximum temperature was 2.66 °C above the long-term average, the third-highest on record. The record of 2.86 °C above average was set in August 2013.
  • Most of the NT also had above average mean minimum temperatures, with the Territory-wide temperature of 1.57 °C above the long-term average, the highest since 2009; a few sites had either their highest August mean daily minimum temperature on record or highest August mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years.
  • The mean temperature averaged across the Northern Territory in August was 2.12 °C above the long-term average, the seventh-highest on record and highest since 2009.
  • For the year to date, Territory-wide temperatures are well above average: to the end of August, the mean maximum was 1.29 °C above average and seventh-highest on record; the mean minimum was 0.92 °C above average, while the mean temperature was 1.11 °C above the long-term average and ninth-highest on record.

Dry in the north, wet in the far south

  • Apart from some isolated pocket near the northern border with Queensland, the only rainfall recorded across the NT during the month was across the far south.
  • A broad region south of about Alice Springs recorded between 10 and 50 mm, the result of single rainfall event, associated with a low pressure system which moved across South Australia during the first week of August.
  • Territory-wide, rainfall was 28% below the long-term average for the month.
  • For the year to date, Territory-wide rainfall was 12% below the long-term average.

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 0 mm, compared to the long-term average of 4.5 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 32.6 °C, which is 1.2 °C above the long-term average of 31.4 °C.
  • The warmest day was 36.4 °C on the 27th, and the coolest day was on the 3rd when the temperature reached 30.1 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 21.0 °C, which is 0.7 °C above the long-term average of 20.3 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 17.3 °C on the 1st, and the warmest morning was on the 17th when the minimum temperature was 23.8 °C
  • Darwin Airport had 10 nights below 20 °C, compared to the August average of 13 such nights.

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 5.0 mm, which is 58% of the the long-term average of 8.6 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 26.2 °C, which is 3.5 °C above the long-term average of 22.7 °C.
  • The warmest day was 32.8 °C on the 17th, and the coolest day was on the 7th when the temperature reached 15.7 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 7.7 °C, which is 1.8 °C above the long-term average of 5.9 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 0.2 °C on the 1st, and the warmest morning was on the 5th when the minimum temperature was 15.2 °C.
  • For winter, Alice Springs' mean maximum temperature was 22.3 °C, 1.5 °C above average, and its highest temperature was 32.8 °C on 17 August.
  • Its winter mean minimum temperature was 4.3 °C which is 0.7 °C below the long-term average, and its lowest temperature during was -0.9 °C on 28 June.
  • The winter rainfall total at Alice Springs Airport was 5.8 mm, which is 16% of its long-term average of 36.1 mm.
  • During the 3 months of June to August, Alice Springs recorded 14 days when the overnight temperature dropped below 0 °C; this compares to the long-term average of about 12 such days.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057

Extremes in August 2020
Hottest day 39.5 °C at Bradshaw - Koolendong Valley (Defence) on the 21st
Warmest days on average 35.9 °C at Bradshaw
Coolest days on average 26.0 °C at Yulara Airport
Coldest day 15.5 °C at Curtin Springs on the 7th
Coldest night -3.3 °C at Arltunga on the 2nd
Coolest nights on average 6.1 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 23.8 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 26.4 °C at Oenpelli Airport on the 31st
Warmest on average overall 27.7 °C at Jabiru Airport
27.7 °C at Mount Bundey North (Defence)
Coolest on average overall 16.8 °C at Yulara Airport
Wettest overall 9.5 mm at Maryvale
Wettest day 9.5 mm at Maryvale on the 5th
Strongest wind gust 76 km/h at Cape Wessel on the 31st

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 temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
August
Tindal RAAF 37.8 on the 20th 37.4 on the 31st in 2016 33 32.3
Delamere Weapons Range 37.3 on the 20th 37.1 on the 19th in 2013 24 31.7
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 37.1 on the 27th 35.2 on the 29th in 2006 22 30.8
Port Keats Airport 37.5 on the 27th 36.3 on the 30th in 2011 22 32.0



Record highest August mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
August
Wave Hill 33.8 = 33.8 in 2009 46 31.1
Jabiru Airport 35.4 35.0 in 2017 42 33.8
Tindal RAAF 34.8 33.9 in 2017 32 32.3
Douglas River Research Farm 35.6 35.1 in 2017 31 33.6
Lajamanu Airport 32.8 32.7 in 2013 25 29.8
Batchelor Airport 34.6 = 34.6 in 1992 23 33.4
Delamere Weapons Range 34.1 33.3 in 2013 23 31.7
Bradshaw 35.9 35.3 in 2017 21 33.7
Port Keats Airport 33.3 33.2 in 2017 21 32.0

Highest August mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
August
Victoria River Downs 34.8 35.2 in 1971* 31.9

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




Record highest August daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
August
Groote Eylandt Airport 25.3 on the 31st 24.2 on the 1st in 2010 22 15.1



Record highest August mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
August
Bradshaw 18.9 18.1 in 2010 21 16.5

Highest August mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
August
Wave Hill 15.8 15.9 in 1985 12.7
Lajamanu Airport 13.7 14.8 in 1972* 11.0

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




Record highest August mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
August
Wave Hill 24.8 24.6 in 1985 46 21.9
Delamere Weapons Range 26.0 25.2 in 1998 23 23.8
Bradshaw 27.4 26.6 in 2009 21 25.1
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 26.1 = 26.1 in 2010 21 24.9

Highest August mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
August
Daly Waters Airstrip 23.3 23.9 in 1958* 21.9
Tindal RAAF 25.8 25.9 in 1988* 23.6
Douglas River Research Farm 25.6 25.8 in 1972* 24.0
Victoria River Downs 24.7 24.8 in 1992 22.5
Lajamanu Airport 23.2 23.5 in 1972* 20.4

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




Summary statistics for August 2020
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
August
2020
Diff
from
average
Highest for
August
2020
Mean for
August
2020
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
August
2020
Total for
August
2020
Average
for
August
Rank of
August
2020
Fraction of
August
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.6 +1.2 37.0 21st 17.9 +0.9 13.4 2nd 0 2.0 lowest 0%
Black Point 31.0 +0.4 33.3 23rd 21.0 -0.2 18.4 3rd 0 1.3 lowest 0%
Central Arnhem Plateau 32.5 +1.8 35.4 20th 17.6 +1.8 12.6 24th 0 0.7 v low 0%
Charles Point 30.2   35.5 28th 21.8   17.5 3rd 0
Croker Island Airport 31.2   33.1 15th 21.2   18.9 12th 0
Darwin Airport 32.6 +1.2 36.4 27th 21.0 +0.7 17.3 1st 0 4.5 lowest 0%
Delamere Weapons Range 34.1 +2.4 37.3 20th 17.9 +2.0 12.0 2nd 0 0.3 lowest 0%
Douglas River Research Farm 35.6 +2.0 38.0 21st 15.8 +1.8 8.3 2nd 0 1.2 lowest 0%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.1 +1.3 37.1 27th 20.0 +0.9 15.1 1st 0.6 3.1 average 19%
Jabiru Airport 35.4 +1.6 37.6 22nd 19.9 +0.7 16.4 2nd 0 2.5 lowest 0%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 35.2   37.4 21st 19.5   15.3 1st 0.2
McCluer Island 28.2 +0.4 30.6 30th 23.8 +0.4 21.5 12th 0 0.4 lowest 0%
Middle Point 35.4 +1.2 37.8 27th 16.0 +1.2 10.7 29th 0 0.8 lowest 0%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 35.1   37.0 21st 20.4   15.8 1st 0
Mount Bundey South (Defence) 35.4   37.5 20th 18.7   12.4 1st 0
Murganella Airstrip 32.7   34.5 19th 16.5   12.5 26th 0
Noonamah Airstrip 35.0   37.8 27th 18.1   12.7 26th 0
Oenpelli Airport 35.7   38.0 22nd 18.8   13.4 25th 0
Pirlangimpi Airport 32.8 +0.6 35.4 23rd 19.7 +0.6 16.8 3rd 0 6.4 lowest 0%
Point Fawcett 31.8 +0.8 34.2 31st 18.9 +0.5 14.9 3rd 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Point Stuart 32.9   35.9 27th 18.8   15.1 2nd 0 3.7 v low 0%
Port Keats Airport 33.3 +1.3 37.5 27th 18.2 +0.9 12.0 1st 0 0.7 lowest 0%
Tindal RAAF 34.8 +2.5 37.8 20th 16.9 +2.0 10.5 2nd 0 1.1 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.0   32.3 9th 23.6   22.1 18th 2.2 7.8 low 28%
Gove Airport 30.2 +1.5 31.5 7th 19.9 +0.8 14.6 18th 0.8 5.1 average 16%
Groote Eylandt Airport 31.0 +0.9 33.4 21st 15.8 +0.7 8.8 11th 0.2 1.3 low 15%
Maningrida Airport 32.1 +0.9 35.2 27th 18.6 +0.7 15.2 18th 0 2.0 v low 0%
Milingimbi Airport 32.2 +1.3 34.5 30th 19.4 +0.2 15.4 24th 0 2.0 v low 0%
Warruwi Airport 30.5 +1.2 33.0 7th 21.9 +0.2 19.2 19th 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 33.8 +1.7 36.1 31st 13.9 +0.4 7.5 1st 0 0.5 lowest 0%
Bulman 34.5 +1.8 37.1 20th 16.1 +1.7 11.7 24th 0 0.9 v low 0%
Centre Island 28.6 +0.7 30.6 19th 20.4 +0.9 17.4 1st 1.6 1.6 average 100%
Daly Waters Airstrip 33.8 +2.6 37.2 20th 12.7 +0.1 7.6 10th 0 0.3 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.8 +1.7 37.0 31st 13.9 +0.5 8.1 1st 0 0.3 lowest 0%
Ngukurr Airport 34.2   37.6 19th 16.2   11.2 11th 0.2
Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw 35.9 +2.2 38.8 15th 18.9 +2.4 11.4 2nd 0 0 lowest
Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 35.6   38.6 21st 19.2   13.1 9th 0
Bradshaw - Koolendong Valley (Defence) 35.7   39.5 21st 13.2   6.1 2nd 0
Lajamanu Airport 32.8 +3.0 35.9 18th 13.7 +2.7 6.7 2nd 0 1.0 lowest 0%
Victoria River Downs 34.8 +2.9 37.8 22nd 14.6 +1.5 7.7 1st 0 0.9 lowest 0%
Wave Hill 33.8 +2.7 36.6 21st 15.8 +3.1 7.8 2nd 0 1.4 lowest 0%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 32.8 +1.7 36.1 18th 15.1 +1.9 9.2 8th 0 1.0 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 30.5 +3.0 35.2 18th 16.3 +2.0 9.1 7th 0 2.3 lowest 0%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 26.2 +3.5 32.8 17th 7.7 +1.8 0.2 1st 5.0 8.6 average 58%
Arltunga     31.7 17th 6.1 +1.4 -3.3 2nd 7.2 6.7 average 107%
Jervois 27.3 +2.3 34.6 17th 7.6 +0.5 1.2 10th 2.8 7.0 average 40%
Rabbit Flat 31.4 +2.1 35.5 27th 9.1 +0.8 1.3 2nd 0 2.8 lowest 0%
Territory Grape Farm 27.7 +2.4 32.5 17th 7.7 +0.8 2.0 9th 0 3.9 lowest 0%
Walungurru Airport 28.5 +1.9 34.8 25th 14.6 +2.3 8.1 8th 6.2 4.5 high 138%
Yulara Airport 26.0 +2.3 34.3 26th 7.6 +1.7 1.3 9th 8.8 5.0 high 176%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists 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. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Tuesday 1 September 2020. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites 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.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057

Climate