Monday, 3 October 2011 - Seasonal Climate Summary for Northern Territory - Product code IDCKGC12R0
Northern Territory in Dry Season 2011: Cool and Dry
- Darwin Airport
- Coolest dry season nights on record
- 94 nights below 20 °C
- 3rd driest May-Sept in Alice Springs District
- Record cool temperatures and across the Territory
- Bushfires burn across the Territory
Darwin Airport sets 2 minimum temperature records
This dry season has been extraordinarily cool with a mean dry season minimum temperature at Darwin Airport of 19.2 °C. The previous record for coolest dry season was 19.4 °C set in 2006. The long-term average dry season minimum temperature at Darwin Airport (period of 1 May to 30 September) is 21.0 °C. The coolest night was on June 14th when the mercury fell to 12.7 °C. This was the coolest night since 27 June 2008. (The record coolest dry season night still stands at 10.4 °C set on 29 July 1942.)
Darwin Airport recorded 94 nights below 20 °C. In an average dry season the overnight temperature will drop below 20 °C about 50 times. The previous highest number nights below 20 °C was 92 nights set in 1976. Last year's dry season only saw 24 nights below 20 °C.
Arltunga breaks 113 year old record in May
On the 28 May the minimum temperature at Arltunga dropped to −3.8 °C breaking the long-held Northern Territory record for the coldest May minimum temperature of −3.0 °C set at Alice Springs Post Office on 27 May 1898. This new record was then broken again on the 31 May when the minimum temperature at Arltunga dropped to −4.2 °C. While not an all-time record, Arltunga felt the coldest temperature this dry season with -6.1 °C on 25 July 2011. The record lowest dry season temperature still stands at -7.5 °C set at Alice Springs Airport on 17 July 1976.
The Northern Territory has had several dry months following a record-setting wet season. The lush biota has now become ample fuel for bushfires in the NT. In addition to a high fuel load, dry and gusty southeast winds raised the fire danger index (FDI) across the Territory. The FDI reached "catastrophic" levels 9 times in the NT this dry season. Significant fires were reported in every month of the dry season but August and September were especially bad in the Top End and throughout the red centre. A total of 22 fire ban days were issued by fire authorities during August and September for various Fire Protection Zones across the Territory. Several thousands of square kilometers have burned across the Territory but especially around the Alice Springs area. Local media at Alice Springs reported that an area greater than Tasmania has been burned by bushfires durring September.
Rainfall: Dry in the Alice
The Alice Springs District usually gets between 55 mm and 70 mm in the May through September period from frontal passages along the southern border. This season, however, persistent high pressure over central Australia prevented most of the cold fronts from moving into the Territory. Several locations, including Alice Springs Airport, did not receive any rainfall in August or September. By the end of the dry season Alice Springs Airport had recorded only 17.6 mm. This is only 27% of their average and marks the third driest May through September period on record.
The wettest overall was Yulara with 91.4 mm, followed by Curtin Springs with 71.8 mm, and then Walungurru with 61.8 mm. The wettest single day was at Tobermorey with 29.0 mm on 15 Jul, followed by Yulara with 26.8 mm on 8 Jun, and then Walungurru with 26.4 mm on 9 Jun.
Temperatures: Record cool dry season
The dry season 2011 came after one of the wettest wet seasons on record. As the monsoon retreated and the winds shifted to a south-southeasterly direction cool, dry air moved across the wet terrain and brought below average temperatures to the Top End. May and June saw record low minimum temperatures at Darwin Airport, Tennant Creek Airport, Alyangula Victoria River Downs, and Katherine Aviation Museum. Twelve locations around the Territory saw record low mean monthly temperatures in May when both the maximum and minimum temperatures were below average for most of the NT.
By July temperatures were returning to normal. Darwin Airport recorded above average monthly maximum temperatures for the first time since October 2010. Only one new temperature record was set in July, that was at McCluer Island when they reached 30.2 °C on the 31 July. It exceeded the previous record highest July temperature of 29.9 set on the 28th 2009.
The warmest on average was Jabiru Airport with 26.2 °C, followed by Warruwi with 25.5 °C, and then Pirlangimpi with 25.3 °C. The coolest on average was Arltunga with 12.9 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 14.0 °C, and then Yulara with 14.6 °C.
The hottest days were at Bradshaw with 39.7 °C on 30 Sep and then 39.2 °C on 27 Sep. This was followed by Jabiru Airport with 39.1 °C on 22 Sep, and then Timber Creek with 39.0 °C on 19 Sep, and again on the 26 Sep. The warmest days on average were at Noonamah with 33.2 °C, followed by Jabiru Airport with 33.0 °C, and then Middle Point with 32.7 °C.
The coolest days on average were at Arltunga with 22.2 °C, followed by Kulgera with 22.4 °C, and then Alice Springs Airport and Yulara with 22.9 °C.
The coldest day was at Kulgera with 10.2 °C on 13 Jul, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 10.5 °C on 14 Jul, and then Arltunga with 10.8 °C on 9 Jun. Curtin Springs also recorded 10.8 °C on 13 Jul.
Alyangula Police had their lowest May to September mean daily maximum temperature on record with an average maximum temperature of 28.5 °C, this breaks the record of 28.6 °C set in 2006.
Several sites across the Territory saw record cool nights this dry season. The stations with more than 20 years of record are included in the records table below. Other stations, with shorter records include Lajamanu where the average minimum temperature for the May through September period was 9.4 °C which is 2.6 below the average and 0.6 °C below the record set in 2006. Groote Eylandt Airport also set a new minimum temperature record with a seasonal average minimum temperature of 15.2 °C--this is 1.3 °C below average for them and 0.4 below the record set in 2006. Point Fawcett, Delamere Weapons Range and Borroloola also set new records. Among the sites that had their lowest May to September mean daily minimum temperature on record and with greater than 20 years of record were Darwin Airport and Katherine Aviation Museum.
The coldest nights in the NT for the May to September period were at Arltunga with -6.1 °C on 25 Jul, -6.0 °C on 24 Jul, and then -5.0 °C on 1 Jun.
The coolest nights on average were at Arltunga with 3.6 °C, followed by Alice Springs Airport with 5.1 °C, and then Territory Grape Farm with 5.8 °C.
The warmest nights on average were at North East Island with 22.5 °C, followed by Warruwi with 21.6 °C, and then Gove Airport and Ngayawili with 19.5 °C.
The warmest night was at McCluer Island with 27.3 °C on 8 May.
The strongest wind gust was at Yulara with 78 km/h on 27 Sep, followed by Walungurru with 69 km/h on 8 Sep, and then Jervois with 65 km/h on 28 Sep.
|Extremes in May to September 2011|
|Hottest day||39.7 °C at Bradshaw on 30 Sep|
|Warmest days on average||33.2 °C at Noonamah|
|Coolest days on average||22.2 °C at Arltunga|
|Coldest day||10.2 °C at Kulgera on 13 Jul|
|Coldest night||-6.1 °C at Arltunga on 25 Jul|
|Coolest nights on average||3.6 °C at Arltunga|
|Warmest nights on average||22.5 °C at North East Island|
|Warmest night||27.3 °C at McCluer Island on 8 May|
|Warmest on average overall||26.2 °C at Jabiru Airport|
|Coolest on average overall||12.9 °C at Arltunga|
|Wettest overall||91.4 mm at Yulara|
|Wettest day||29.0 mm at Tobermorey on 15 Jul|
|Highest wind gust||78 km/h at Yulara on 27 Sep|
|Record lowest May to September mean daily maximum temperature|
Mean daily maximum
for May to September 2011 (°C)
for May to September
May to September
|Alyangula Police||28.5||28.6||in 2006||27||29.5|
|Record lowest May to September mean daily minimum temperature|
Mean daily minimum
for May to September 2011 (°C)
for May to September
May to September
|Darwin Airport||19.2||19.4||in 2006||68||21.0|
|Daly Waters||10.3||11.8||in 2006||40||14.3|
|Timber Creek||14.7||14.9||in 2006||29||17.0|
|Katherine Aviation Museum||13.5||13.6||in 2006||24||15.6|
|Summary statistics for May to September 2011|
|Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)|
|Batchelor||32.0||-1.1||37.4||26 Sep||16.6||-1.2||8.0||16 Jun||0||25.0||v low||0%|
|Bradshaw||32.2||39.2||27 Sep||15.7||6.7||13 Jun||1.0|
|Darwin Airport||31.1||-0.3||34.9||27 Sep||19.2||-1.8||12.7||14 Jun||3.8||44.3||low||9%|
|Delamere Weapons Range||30.1||-1.4||37.4||19 Sep||14.8||-2.0||6.6||18 Jun||0||10.4||v low||0%|
|Douglas River||32.1||-1.1||38.7||27 Sep||14.0||-1.0||4.1||16 Jun||0||19.7||lowest||0%|
|Jabiru Airport||33.0||-0.4||39.1||22 Sep||19.4||-0.6||10.7||14 Jun||4.0||22.8||average||18%|
|Katherine Aviation Museum||30.7||-1.5||37.4||27 Sep||13.4||-2.2||5.5||16 Jun||0||12.1||lowest||0%|
|Mango Farm||31.9||-1.2||38.2||27 Sep||15.3||-1.6||5.1||14 Jun||20.8||21.0||high||99%|
|Middle Point||32.7||37.9||25 Sep||14.8||6.3||17 Jun||0|
|Noonamah||33.2||38.2||5 Sep||15.6||8.4||20 Jun||0|
|Pirlangimpi||31.7||-0.2||35.5||5 Sep||18.8||-0.9||11.1||14 Jun||20.8||65.9||low||32%|
|Point Fawcett||30.0||-0.6||32.8||30 Aug||16.8||-3.1||8.2||15 Jun||5.4||44.3||average||12%|
|Port Keats||31.5||36.3||30 Aug||17.0||8.6||14 Jun||0.6|
|Tindal RAAF||31.0||-0.9||37.7||23 Sep||14.0||-2.1||6.0||15 Jun||0||13.8||lowest||0%|
|Arnhem (district 14BC)|
|Alyangula Police||28.5||-1.0||32.8||27 Sep||17.9||-1.3||11.5||13 Jun||41.6||51.8||average||80%|
|Gove Airport||29.0||+0.1||33.3||21 Sep||19.5||-1.1||13.1||11 Aug||26.6||152.7||v low||17%|
|Groote Eylandt Airport||29.6||-0.7||36.1||27 Sep||15.2||-1.3||7.1||14 Jun||5.8||32.2||low||18%|
|Maningrida||31.1||35.4||30 Aug||18.3||8.8||15 Jun||0.2|
|Milingimbi||30.9||34.6||31 Aug||19.2||11.0||15 Jun||4.8|
|Ngayawili||30.1||-0.3||33.8||29 Aug||19.5||-0.7||10.5||15 Jun||2.2||51.8||low||4%|
|North East Island||27.3||31.4||1 May||22.5||19.7||13 Jun||24.6||37.4||average||66%|
|Warruwi||29.3||-0.4||33.6||19 Sep||21.6||-0.9||15.5||15 Jun|
|Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)|
|Borroloola||30.5||-1.4||36.5||22 Sep||12.0||-2.4||4.6||13 Jun||2.0||7.7||average||26%|
|Bulman||31.4||38.2||27 Sep||14.3||5.5||15 Jun||6.4|
|Centre Island||27.2||-0.9||32.8||29 Sep||19.2||-1.2||13.2||11 Jun||4.6||22.4||low||21%|
|Daly Waters||30.1||-0.7||37.8||26 Sep||10.3||-4.0||2.0||14 Jun||0||14.6||lowest||0%|
|Larrimah||30.3||-1.2||36.7||27 Sep||11.6||-3.3||3.4||13 Jun||0||18.9||lowest||0%|
|McArthur River Mine||31.2||-0.6||38.0||24 Sep||12.8||-1.6||4.8||19 Jun||0.4||17.4||low||2%|
|Ngukurr||30.4||-1.3||37.9||26 Sep||9.5||15 Jun||0.7||17.1||average||4%|
|Wollogorang||30.2||-0.8||37.7||22 Sep||11.3||-2.2||4.1||18 Jun||0.7||11.5||average||6%|
|Victoria (district 14F)|
|Lajamanu||28.6||-0.8||38.6||27 Sep||9.4||-2.6||1.7||14 Jun||4.0||19.7||average||20%|
|Timber Creek||31.8||-0.8||39.0||26 Sep||14.7||-2.3||6.0||19 Jun||0||17.9||lowest||0%|
|Victoria River Downs||30.9||-0.6||38.7||19 Sep||11.2||-2.9||3.9||15 Jun||0||16.6||lowest||0%|
|Wave Hill||29.3||-1.5||37.8||27 Sep||11.1||-2.4||2.8||2 Jun||1.0||27.3||low||4%|
|Barkly (district 15A)|
|Tennant Creek Airport||26.1||-1.1||36.5||28 Sep||13.1||-1.8||5.7||11 Jun||10.4||27.3||average||38%|
|Alice Springs (district 15B)|
|Alice Springs Airport||22.9||+0.4||35.8||27 Sep||5.1||-1.7||-3.4||15 Jun||17.6||64.8||low||27%|
|Arltunga||22.2||35.4||28 Sep||3.6||-6.1||25 Jul||20.4||55.8||low||37%|
|Curtin Springs||23.4||+0.4||37.0||26 Sep||-1.0||24 Jul||71.8||61.2||average||117%|
|Jervois||24.0||-0.9||36.6||28 Sep||6.8||-1.2||-0.3||1 Jun||15.0||56.1||low||27%|
|Kulgera||22.4||+0.5||36.4||27 Sep||6.7||-0.8||-2.1||30 May||54.4||63.6||average||86%|
|Papunya||24.7||36.5||27 Sep||8.5||0.7||19 Jun||11.2||59.5||low||19%|
|Rabbit Flat||27.7||-1.3||38.8||27 Sep||7.9||-1.9||0.7||16 Jun||11.0||27.1||average||41%|
|Territory Grape Farm||25.0||-0.4||37.3||28 Sep||5.8||-2.3||-2.1||1 Jun||17.0||52.6||low||32%|
|Walungurru||26.0||38.0||26 Sep||12.4||4.7||13 Jun||61.8|
|Yulara||22.9||-0.7||35.7||26 Sep||6.3||-1.0||-0.7||16 Jun||91.4||57.9||high||158%|
A Seasonal 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 Friday 30 September 2011. 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
the years 1800 to 2009.
They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record in that time, 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
(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.