Northern Territory in May to September 2015: Warm days, cool nights, dry in the south

While a large portion of the Top End recorded above-average rainfall this dry season, most of Northern Territory had near-average rainfall totals. Some regions experienced below-average rainfall, particularly parts south of Tennant Creek. Maximum temperatures were mostly above to very much above average with the largest departures from average being across the Top End and Carpentaria District. A small section in the central Northern Territory had below-average temperatures. In contrast, nearly all of the Territory had average- to below-average minimum temperatures.

  • Daytime maximum temperatures were mostly above average for every month of the dry season
  • Overnight minimum temperatures were average to below average for every month except June
  • A mix of wet and dry months, but generally average to below average
  • Darwin had 60 nights below 20 °C

For most of the Territory, rainfall totals were near average for the May to September period. Most of the Top End had above-average rainfall with some parts very much above average. Some early dry season rainfall, in late May, affected the northern and central Top End and Warruwi Airport, in the northern Arnhem District, had its highest May to September daily rainfall on record, with 93.6 mm. Warruwi also had its highest rainfall total for the May to September period for at least the last 20 years. At the other end of the dry season, parts of the northwest Top End had two significant rainfall events during the second half of September. Charles Point had two separate days with falls exceeding 50 mm, while Darwin Hospital had its highest May to September daily rainfall with 41.0 mm. The region along the base of the Top End had below-average rainfall, as did most of the region south of Tennant Creek. Alice Springs Airport experienced its lowest May to September rainfall for at least 20 years with only 2.8 mm, well down on its dry season average of 64.0 mm. The wettest day of the dry season was at Yirrkala Tropical Gardens where 125.0 mm fell on 1 June. For the May to September period, the highest rainfall was at Cape Wessel which recorded a total of 226.0 mm.

Maximum temperatures were mostly above to very much above average. Near-average maximum temperatures were generally confined to the southern half of Northern Territory and mostly were in the east. A small patch near Elliott was the only area to have below-average maximum temperatures. The most pronounced above-average temperatures were in the eastern Top End and the northern Carpentaria District where some parts had their highest mean maximum temperatures on record. The hottest day during the season was 38.8 °C at Ngukurr Airport, Bradshaw and Middle Point. The coldest day was 13.2 °C at Kulgera. Darwin Airport had an average maximum temperature of 32.2 °C which is 0.8 °C above the long-term dry season average. The hottest day at Darwin was 36.3 °C on 22 September.

Mean overnight temperatures were generally average to below average for the May to September period. A few small areas experienced above-average minimum temperatures, and only a small part in the far east of the Carpentaria District, bordering Queensland, recorded very-much-above-average minimum temperatures. A significant portion of the Territory had below-average minimum temperatures, mainly in the southwest and around the southeast of the Top End. The northwest of the Top End also experienced cooler-than-average overnight temperatures. Darwin Airport had an average minimum temperature of 20.5 °C which is 0.4 °C below the long-term average, and dropped below 20 °C 60 times during the season, which compares favourably with the average of 51 nights. The coolest night at Darwin was 14.8 °C on 14 July. The lowest minimum temperature during the dry season in NT was -5.0 °C at both Alice Springs Airport and Kulgera on 20 July. The warmest night was 27.0 °C at Cape Wessel and McCluer Island.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries

Extremes in May to September 2015
Hottest day 38.8 °C at Ngukurr Airport on 2 Sep
38.8 °C at Bradshaw on 3 Sep
38.8 °C at Middle Point on 21 Sep
Warmest days on average 34.3 °C at Middle Point
Coolest days on average 21.8 °C at Arltunga
Coldest day 13.2 °C at Kulgera on 25 Jul
Coldest night -5.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport on 20 Jul
-5.0 °C at Arltunga on 20 Jul
Coolest nights on average 5.3 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 24.2 °C at Cape Wessel
24.2 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 27.0 °C at Cape Wessel on 8 May
27.0 °C at McCluer Island on 20 May
Warmest on average overall 27.2 °C at Jabiru Airport
Coolest on average overall 14.0 °C at Alice Springs Airport
14.0 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 226.0 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 125.0 mm at Yirrkala Tropical Gardens on 1 Jun
Strongest wind gust 83 km/h at Cape Wessel on 29 May

Month by Month
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank
May
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
June
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
July
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
August
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
September
Map of decile rank of rainfall Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
Rainfall rank Maximum temperature rank Minimum temperature rank

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Record highest May to September daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Warruwi Airport 93.6 on 31 May 76.0 on 1 May 1983 93
Darwin Hospital 41.0 on 24 Sep 34.5 on 23 May 1997 20



Highest May to September total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May to September
Warruwi Airport 100.0 185.5 in 1968* 21.8

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




Record lowest May to September total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Borroloola Airport 0.2 = 0.2 in 2008 21 10.4

Lowest May to September total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
May to September
Alice Springs Airport 2.8 0.8 in 1961 64.0



Summary statistics for May to September 2015
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
to September
2015
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
to September
2015
Mean for
May
to September
2015
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
to September
2015
Total for
May
to September
2015
Average
for
May
to September
Rank of
May
to September
2015
Fraction of
May
to September
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 33.7 +0.7 37.8 18 Sep 17.9 0.0 11.0 15 Jul 7.6 34.5 low 22%
Black Point 31.0 +0.4 34.5 20 Sep 22.0 0.0 17.0 18 Aug 38.0 44.9 high 85%
Bradshaw 34.1 +0.6 38.8 3 Sep 17.9 +0.4 9.3 15 Jul 0.6 24.9 low 2%
Central Arnhem Plateau 30.6 +0.3 34.8 19 Sep 16.7 -0.4 9.8 18 Aug 0.2 24.0 v low 1%
Charles Point 30.3   36.0 9 Sep 21.3   16.0 19 Jul 121.2
Croker Island Airport 30.7   34.9 20 Sep 21.9   17.2 14 Jul 0
Darwin Airport 32.2 +0.8 36.3 22 Sep 20.5 -0.4 14.8 14 Jul 17.6 44.0 average 40%
Delamere Weapons Range 31.7 +0.2 36.9 17 Sep 16.5 -0.3 9.1 15 Jul 0.4 11.0 average 4%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 31.7 +0.7 36.3 9 Sep 19.6 -0.7 12.6 15 Jul 15.0 39.0 average 38%
Jabiru Airport 34.1 +0.7 38.6 19 Sep 20.3 +0.2 14.3 18 Aug
Katherine Country Club 32.9   37.5 19 Sep 15.1   6.8 15 Jul 8.2
Mango Farm 33.7 +0.6 38.0 3 Sep 15.8 -1.0 8.7 18 Aug 2.0 21.0 low 10%
McCluer Island 28.3 0.0 31.5 20 Sep 24.2 +0.3 20.1 14 Jul 95.0 69.8 high 136%
Middle Point 34.3 +0.6 38.8 21 Sep 15.6 -0.9 5.7 14 Jul 15.0 38.2 low 39%
Murganella Airstrip 31.8   35.3 20 Sep 17.7   8.7 14 Jul 43.0
Noonamah Airstrip 33.9   38.3 21 Sep 18.0   10.5 19 Jul 22.8
Oenpelli Airport 34.2   38.5 19 Sep 19.2   12.4 19 Aug 24.6
Pirlangimpi Airport 33.2 +1.2 36.7 18 Sep 20.0 +0.2 13.4 19 Jul 28.4 61.5 low 46%
Point Fawcett 31.8 +1.1 35.5 22 Sep 18.3 -1.4 10.8 19 Jul
Point Stuart 32.1   36.0 10 Sep 19.3   11.3 14 Jul 13.8 20.1 average 69%
Port Keats Airport 32.7 +0.6 38.5 21 Sep     10.0 16 May 0 29.9 v low 0%
Tindal RAAF 32.8 +0.8 37.7 17 Sep 14.6 -1.4 6.6 14 Jul 19.6 14.0 high 140%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 30.1   32.5 20 Sep 24.2   21.5 20 Aug 226.0 158.3 high 143%
Gove Airport 29.4 +0.4 32.5 6 May 20.0 -0.6 13.7 17 Aug 181.8 152.1 average 120%
Groote Eylandt Airport 30.3 +0.1 34.1 19 Sep 16.8 +0.1 8.8 18 Jul 49.8 39.8 average 125%
Maningrida Airport 31.4 +0.2 35.5 21 Sep 19.2 -0.3 11.1 14 Jul 59.0 35.9 average 164%
Milingimbi Airport 31.0 0.0 34.6 6 Sep 20.5 +0.3 13.4 14 Jul 115.2 50.3 high 229%
Warruwi Airport 29.8 0.0 33.4 20 Sep 22.7 +0.2 17.4 14 Jul 100.0 21.8 v high 459%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 32.8 +0.9 37.4 5 May 14.8 +0.5 5.6 15 Jul 0.2 10.4 lowest 2%
Bulman 33.3   37.9 19 Sep 15.9   6.9 18 Jul 36.4 28.5 average 128%
Centre Island 28.9 +0.8 33.3 6 May 20.6 +0.2 15.4 18 Jul 5.8 21.2 average 27%
Daly Waters Airstrip 32.4 +1.5 37.9 17 Sep 12.0 -2.2 3.5 21 Jul 0.8 13.9 average 6%
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.0 +1.1 38.3 17 Sep 14.4 0.0 5.3 15 Jul 3.6 15.8 average 23%
Ngukurr Airport 33.2   38.8 2 Sep 15.2   5.9 15 Jul 1.6
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 30.0 +0.7 37.6 16 Sep 11.7 -0.2 3.5 21 Jul 17.8 20.5 high 87%
Victoria River Downs 32.4 +0.8 38.4 17 Sep 12.8 -1.2 3.4 18 Jul 2.8 16.6 average 17%
Wave Hill 30.9 +0.2 37.0 17 Sep 13.5 0.0 4.0 15 Jul 7.2 25.9 average 28%
Barkly (district 15A)
Tennant Creek Airport 27.1 -0.1 35.2 16 Sep 14.4 -0.5 7.1 17 Jul 41.4 27.7 high 149%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 22.6 +0.1 33.3 14 Sep 5.3 -1.4 -5.0 20 Jul 2.8 64.0 v low 4%
Arltunga 21.8 -0.8 32.1 14 Sep 6.1 -0.2 -5.0 20 Jul 29.2 57.1 low 51%
Curtin Springs 23.2 +0.2 35.0 30 Sep 7.4 +0.8 -0.8 19 Jul 22.7 61.0 low 37%
Jervois 24.1 -0.7 34.3 14 Sep 8.5 +0.4 -0.7 21 Jul 11.6 57.4 low 20%
Rabbit Flat 29.1 +0.3 37.1 15 Sep 8.5 -1.3 -2.5 20 Jul 0.6 31.7 v low 2%
Territory Grape Farm 25.2 -0.1 33.5 14 Sep 7.0 -1.1 -3.0 20 Jul 8.2 51.3 low 16%
Walungurru Airport 26.6 +0.3 34.6 30 Sep 13.1 0.0 6.5 12 Jul 4.2 54.4 low 8%
Yulara Airport 23.4 -0.1 34.2 30 Sep 7.4 +0.2 0.3 21 Jul 26.8 57.9 average 46%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary 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. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 11 am on Thursday 1 October 2015. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

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.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057
Enquiries