Northern Territory in May to September 2017: Hot days, drier than usual

Daytime temperatures during the dry season months of May to September were the highest on record for the Northern Territory in 2017. Overnight temperatures were slightly above average, overall. Territory-wide, rainfall was below the long-term average.

Very warm daytime temperatures

  • Territory-wide, the mean daily maximum temperature for May to September was the highest on record at 1.99 °C above average
  • Daytime temperatures throughout the Territory were above average, with broad regions, and several sites, including Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, having their highest dry-season mean daily maximum temperatures on record
  • A few sites across the Territory had their highest May to September maximum temperature on record
  • Every month of the 2017 dry season saw above average maximum temperatures Territory-wide; including the warmest July, 6th-warmest May, and 8th-warmest August on record
  • Overnight temperatures were more variable, with much of the northern half of the NT seeing average to above average temperatures while it was generally below average across the southwest. Territory-wide, the dry-season mean daily minimum temperature was 0.15 °C above average

Mostly drier than normal

  • Apart from the central NT, rainfall was generally below average
  • The above average rainfall totals across the central NT were the result of a single rain event during July
  • Territory-wide, rainfall was 44% below the dry-season long-term average
  • Many sites had no rainfall during the dry season, however this is not uncommon across the Northern Territory at this time of the year
  • Several sites had their lowest dry-season rainfall total on record or their lowest in more than 70 years

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 0.0 mm, which is 0% of the long-term average of 44.5 mm. This was the first time since records commenced in 1941 that Darwin recorded no rainfall during a dry season
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 32.8 °C, which is 1.3 °C above the long-term average of 31.5 °C. The warmest day was 36.9 °C on 16 Sep, and the coolest day was on 12 Jun when the temperature reached 29.1 °C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 21.3 °C, which is 0.4 °C above the long-term average of 20.9 °C. The coldest morning was 15.4 °C on 29 Aug, and the warmest morning was on 30 Sep when the minimum temperature was 26.1 °C
  • Darwin Airport had 36 nights when minimum temperatures dropped below 20 °C during the 2017 dry season, which compares with the average of 51. Interestingly, there were 38 occasions when the minimum temperature at Darwin was between 20.0 and 21.0 °C

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 6.4 mm, which is 10% of the long-term average of 63.2 mm
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 25.1 °C, which is 2.6 °C above the long-term average of 22.5 °C and the highest on record. The warmest day was 38.3 °C on 27 Sep, and the coolest day was on 28 Jun when the temperature reached 13.6°C
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 5.9 °C, which is 0.8 °C below the long-term average of 6.7 °C. The coldest morning was -2.9 °C on 11 Jun, and the warmest morning was on 23 Sep when the minimum temperature was 25.4 °C

Northern Australia highlights

  • Averaged across northern Australia (north of the NT/SA border, roughly 26 °South), the May to September mean daily maximum temperature was 2.00 °C above average, the highest on record
  • All months of the 2017 dry season saw above average maximum temperatures across northern Australia; including the warmest July (more than 3 °C above average), 3rd-warmest August, 4h-warmest September, and 6th-warmest May. Additionally, the July 2017 mean temperature (average of the maximum and minimum) was the highest ever recorded.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature was 0.44 °C above average, and the mean temperature of 1.22 °C above average was the 5th-highest on record
  • Rainfall across northern Australia was 53% below average

Further information

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Extremes in May to September 2017
Hottest day 40.9 °C at Daly Waters Airstrip on 27 Sep
40.9 °C at Lajamanu Airport on 29 Sep
Warmest days on average 34.8 °C at Bradshaw
34.8 °C at Oenpelli Airport
Coolest days on average 25.0 °C at Yulara Airport
Coldest day 13.5 °C at Arltunga on 10 Jul
Coldest night -3.5 °C at Yulara Airport on 7 Jul
Coolest nights on average 5.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 25.0 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 27.3 °C at Charles Point on 29 Sep
Warmest on average overall 28.1 °C at Cape Wessel
Coolest on average overall 15.5 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 96.8 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 57.0 mm at Ammaroo on 10 Jul
Strongest wind gust 91 km/h at Lajamanu Airport on 9 Jul

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles

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


Monthly maps
Rainfall rankMaximum temperature rankMinimum temperature rank
May 2016 Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
June 2017 Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
July 2017 Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
August 2017 Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature
September 2017 Map of Rainfall deciles Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

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


Record lowest May to September total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Darwin Airport 0.0 0.5 in 1953 77 44.5
Howard Springs Nature Park 0.0 0.4 in 1999 38 52.4
Leanyer 0.0 1.4 in 1999 28 34.1
Borroloola Airport 0.0 0.2 in 2015 23 13.4

Lowest May to September total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
May to September
Arltunga 8.6 0.0 in 1940* 58.8

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




Record highest May to September temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Daly Waters Airstrip 40.9 on 27 Sep = 40.9 on 27 Sep 2012 49 31.0
Tennant Creek Airport 39.4 on 27 Sep 39.0 on 24 Sep 2013 49 27.2
Point Fawcett 35.5 on 16 Sep = 35.5 on 22 Sep 2015 20 30.9



Record highest May to September mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Alice Springs Airport 25.1 25.0 in 2013 75 22.5
Tennant Creek Airport 29.1 = 29.1 in 2013 47 27.2
Gove Airport 30.3 30.2 in 2016 37 29.0
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.7 33.3 in 2016 36 32.0
Yulara Airport 25.0 = 25.0 in 2002 28 23.5
Borroloola Airport 33.4 33.2 in 2016 23 32.0
Rabbit Flat 30.6 30.3 in 2013 20 28.8



Record highest May to September daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Channel Point 27.0 on 30 Sep = 27.0 on 22 Sep 2009 24 19.1



Summary statistics for May to September 2017
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
to September
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
to September
2017
Mean for
May
to September
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
to September
2017
Total for
May
to September
2017
Average
for
May
to September
Rank of
May
to September
2017
Fraction of
May
to September
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.0 +0.9 37.9 25 Sep 18.6 +0.6 13.4 16 Jun 1.0 39.5 low 3%
Black Point 31.3 +0.7 33.9 18 Sep 23.1 +1.0 19.1 29 Aug 0.8 45.8 low 2%
Bradshaw 34.8 +1.1 40.3 25 Sep 18.1 +0.4 9.3 14 Jun 0 21.7 v low 0%
Central Arnhem Plateau 31.3 +0.9 36.6 28 Sep 17.8 +0.6 10.0 29 Aug 0 20.9 v low 0%
Croker Island Airport 31.3   33.9 26 Sep 22.4   17.4 27 Aug 4.8
Darwin Airport 32.8 +1.3 36.9 16 Sep 21.3 +0.4 15.4 29 Aug 0.0 44.5 lowest 0%
Delamere Weapons Range 32.6 +1.0 39.0 27 Sep 17.2 +0.2 10.0 14 Jun 0 11.4 lowest 0%
Douglas River Research Farm 34.4 +1.1 39.5 22 Sep 15.7 +0.5 9.1 14 Jun 0 21.6 lowest 0%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.3 +1.2 36.6 16 Sep 20.7 +0.3 13.1 14 Jun   43.4  
Jabiru Airport 34.5 +1.0 39.0 23 Sep 21.3 +1.1 16.4 12 Jun 2.0 35.6 low 6%
Katherine Country Club 33.4   39.5 28 Sep 15.9   8.7 13 Jun 0
McCluer Island 28.8 +0.4 31.5 19 May 25.0 +1.0 22.1 12 Jun 1.6 67.7 v low 2%
Middle Point 34.6 +0.8 38.5 20 Sep 17.4 +0.8 10.2 31 Aug 0 42.1 v low 0%
Murganella Airstrip 32.3   35.5 18 May 18.8   10.5 29 Aug 4.4
Noonamah Airstrip 34.5   38.3 20 Sep 18.5   11.4 29 Aug 0
Oenpelli Airport 34.8   38.4 14 Sep 20.5   13.9 29 Aug 0
Pirlangimpi Airport 33.2 +1.1 36.7 16 Sep 20.9 +1.0 15.9 29 Aug 7.2 63.7 v low 11%
Point Fawcett 32.3 +1.4 35.5 16 Sep 19.2 -0.4 13.4 29 Aug 4.8 56.6 low 8%
Port Keats Airport 33.0 +0.8 37.6 16 Sep 19.1 +0.9 13.9 1 Sep 1.4 31.3 average 4%
Tindal RAAF 33.4 +1.3 39.7 28 Sep 15.9 -0.2 8.6 13 Jun 0 15.6 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.3   34.0 30 Sep 24.9   22.9 1 Jul 96.8 166.0 average 58%
Gove Airport 30.3 +1.3 33.3 28 Sep 21.8 +1.2 16.2 28 Aug 52.8 153.2 low 34%
Groote Eylandt Airport 31.1 +0.8 36.1 26 Sep 18.4 +1.5 11.7 28 Aug 24.8 52.6 average 47%
Maningrida Airport 32.1 +0.8 35.0 7 Sep 20.2 +0.6 14.2 29 Aug 9.6 37.6 low 26%
Milingimbi Airport 31.8 +0.7 35.3 7 Sep 21.4 +1.0 16.8 30 Aug 23.4 48.4 average 48%
Ngayawili 31.4 +0.9 34.3 17 Sep 21.3 +0.8 16.7 26 Aug 17.2 43.6 average 39%
Warruwi Airport 30.4 +0.6 32.9 19 Jul 23.6 +1.1 19.8 29 Aug 7.2 22.2 average 32%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 33.4 +1.4 38.3 28 Sep 15.2 +0.8 5.7 13 Jun 0 13.4 lowest 0%
Bulman 33.2 +0.6 38.9 28 Sep 17.0 +1.1 10.0 27 Aug 3.6 44.4 low 8%
Centre Island 29.3 +1.1 34.1 30 Sep 21.5 +1.0 16.6 12 Jun 15.8 21.7 average 73%
Daly Waters Airstrip 33.4 +2.4 40.9 27 Sep 12.6 -1.5 5.0 29 Aug 0 13.8 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.7 +1.7 40.2 28 Sep 15.8 +1.3 6.1 13 Jun 0 16.4 lowest 0%
Ngukurr Airport 33.7   40.4 28 Sep 16.7   7.0 13 Jun 1.2
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 31.5 +2.0 40.9 29 Sep 12.0 0.0 4.3 4 Aug 24.6 21.4 high 115%
Victoria River Downs 33.1 +1.5 40.4 26 Sep 13.3 -0.7 5.8 12 Jun 0 16.7 lowest 0%
Wave Hill 31.9 +1.2 39.2 30 Sep 14.2 +0.6 6.0 4 Aug 6.0 32.5 average 18%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 31.5 +0.6 39.9 27 Sep 14.5 +0.4 6.7 21 Jul 0 21.9 lowest 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 29.1 +1.9 39.4 27 Sep 15.7 +0.8 8.5 21 Jul 25.6 29.8 average 86%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 25.1 +2.6 38.3 27 Sep 5.9 -0.8 -2.9 11 Jun 6.4 63.2 v low 10%
Jervois 26.4 +1.6 40.8 27 Sep 8.5 +0.4 1.4 1 Jul 54.0 60.5 average 89%
Rabbit Flat 30.6 +1.8 40.8 29 Sep 9.0 -0.9 1.4 9 Jun 0 32.7 lowest 0%
Territory Grape Farm 26.8 +1.5 37.9 26 Sep 7.1 -1.0 0.2 7 Jun
Walungurru Airport 27.9 +1.6 37.4 22 Sep 13.3 +0.2 3.4 12 Jun 7.0 57.5 low 12%
Yulara Airport 25.0 +1.5 37.1 21 Sep 6.9 -0.4 -3.5 7 Jul 56.4 63.8 average 88%

Notes

The Seasonal 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 10 am on Monday 2 October 2017. 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
Enquiries