Northern Territory in May to September 2020: warm days and nights during the dry season; below average rainfall across most areas

Dry season 2020 saw warmer than average days and nights across virtually all of the Northern Territory. Territory-wide, temperatures were above average for every month during the dry season, apart from May. All months of the dry season, apart from September, saw below average rainfall for the NT.

Warm days throughout, most parts had warmer than average nights

Average to below average rain everywhere apart from the northwest

  • Territory-wide, rainfall was 49% below the long-term average; the May to August period had below average monthly rainfall, while September had rainfall 16% above the long-term average.
  • September saw above average rainfall across much of the northern half of the Territory, particularly western parts.
  • Dum In Mirrie in the northwestern Top End had its highest May to September mean daily maximum temperature on record with a 24-hour total of 77.6 mm in late September.

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 89.2 mm, which is 200% of the long-term average of 44.7 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 32.6 °C, which is 1.1 °C above the long-term average of 31.5 °C
  • The warmest day was 37.0 °C on 8 September, and the coolest day was on 22 May when the temperature reached 25.0 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 21.5 °C, which is 0.6 °C above the long-term average of 20.9 °C
  • The coldest morning was 16.2 °C on 30 July, and the warmest morning was on 24 September when the minimum temperature was 25.5 °C.
  • Darwin Airport had 46 nights with temperatures below 20 °C during the 2020 dry season, slightly below the long-term average of 51 for the 5-month period.

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 6.0 mm, which is 10% of the long-term average of 62.4 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 24.2 °C, which is 1.6 °C above the long-term average of 22.6 °C. The warmest day was 35.9 °C on 20 September, and the coolest day was on 21 July when the temperature reached 14.7 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 6.7 °C, which is 0.2 °C below the long-term average of 6.7 °C. The coldest morning was -0.9 °C on 28 June, and the warmest morning was on 17 September when the minimum temperature was 24.3 °C.
  • Alice Springs Airport had 16 nights when the temperature fell below 0 °C, all occurring in June and July; the long-term average for the 5-month period is 13 such cold nights.
  • Further information

    Media
    (03) 9669 4057

    Extremes in May to September 2020
    Hottest day 40.8 °C at Victoria River Downs on 20 Sep
    Warmest days on average 34.9 °C at Oenpelli Airport
    Coolest days on average 24.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
    Coldest day 14.6 °C at Tennant Creek Airport on 22 May
    14.6 °C at Arltunga on 21 Jul
    Coldest night -4.2 °C at Arltunga on 25 Jun
    Coolest nights on average 6.0 °C at Arltunga
    Warmest nights on average 24.6 °C at McCluer Island
    Warmest night 28.4 °C at Wave Hill on 21 Sep
    Warmest on average overall 27.9 °C at Jabiru Airport
    Coolest on average overall 15.4 °C at Alice Springs Airport
    Wettest overall 192.0 mm at Cape Wessel
    Wettest day 77.6 mm at Dum In Mirrie Airstrip on 25 Sep
    Strongest wind gust 83 km/h at Walungurru Airport on 17 Sep

    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 May to September daily rainfall
    New record
    (mm)
    Old
    record
    Years of
    record
    Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 77.6 on 25 Sep 58.8 on 4 May 2014 24



    Record highest May to September temperature
    New record
    (°C)
    Old
    record
    Years of
    record
    Average for
    May to September
    Victoria River Downs 40.8 on 20 Sep 40.7 on 28 Sep 2016 56 31.7
    Point Fawcett 36.0 on 8 Sep 35.5 on 16 Sep 2017 23 31.0
    Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 37.5 on 8 Sep 37.0 on 26 Sep 2001 22 31.2



    Record highest May to September mean daily maximum temperature
    New record
    (°C)
    Old
    record
    Years of
    record
    Average for
    May to September
    Jabiru Airport 34.6 = 34.6 in 1998 40 33.5
    Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.5 32.3 in 2017 20 31.2



    Record highest May to September daily minimum temperature
    New record
    (°C)
    Old
    record
    Years of
    record
    Average for
    May to September
    Brunette Downs 25.9 on 20 Sep 25.8 on 28 Sep 1997 57 13.3
    Wave Hill 28.4 on 21 Sep = 28.4 on 29 Sep 1992 47 13.6
    Elliott 27.4 on 21 Sep 27.3 on 20 Sep 1986 40 14.1
    Delamere Weapons Range 27.3 on 20 Sep 27.1 on 22 Sep 2013 24 17.0
    Rabbit Flat 25.9 on 29 Sep 25.3 on 28 Sep 2005 24 9.8
    Middle Point 25.9 on 21 May 25.4 on 26 Jul 2010 20 16.5



    Summary statistics for May to September 2020
    Maximum temperatures
    (°C)
    Minimum temperatures
    (°C)
    Rainfall
    (millimetres)
    Mean for
    May
    to September
    2020
    Diff
    from
    average
    Highest for
    May
    to September
    2020
    Mean for
    May
    to September
    2020
    Diff
    from
    average
    Lowest for
    May
    to September
    2020
    Total for
    May
    to September
    2020
    Average
    for
    May
    to September
    Rank of
    May
    to September
    2020
    Fraction of
    May
    to September
    average
    Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
    Batchelor Airport 33.9 +0.7 38.3 6 Sep 18.5 +0.5 11.5 30 Jul 6.4 38.4 low 17%
    Central Arnhem Plateau 31.4 +0.9 37.4 21 Sep 18.0 +0.8 9.6 29 Jul 5.0 18.0 average 28%
    Charles Point 30.5   35.5 28 Aug 22.2   16.8 31 Jul 50.0
    Croker Island Airport 31.2   34.0 26 Sep 22.6   17.0 31 Jul 1.6
    Darwin Airport 32.6 +1.1 37.0 8 Sep 21.5 +0.6 16.2 30 Jul 89.2 44.7 high 200%
    Delamere Weapons Range 32.4 +0.8 38.9 22 Sep 17.9 +0.9 9.2 24 May 1.6 10.2 average 16%
    Douglas River Research Farm 34.6 +1.2 39.9 28 Sep 16.0 +0.8 7.3 5 Jun 19.0 20.9 high 91%
    Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.5 +1.3 37.5 8 Sep 20.1 -0.2 11.0 31 Jul 111.8 48.3 high 231%
    Jabiru Airport 34.6 +1.1 39.4 22 Sep 21.1 +0.9 13.1 31 Jul 14.4 34.9 average 41%
    Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 34.4   39.0 6 Sep 19.8   11.4 30 Jul 19.2
    McCluer Island 28.5 +0.1 32.6 1 May 24.6 +0.6 20.5 30 Jul 14.4 62.9 low 23%
    Middle Point 34.4 +0.5 38.5 6 Sep 17.0 +0.5 6.2 30 Jul 50.0 39.3 high 127%
    Mount Bundey North (Defence) 34.3   38.7 5 Sep 20.5   13.9 29 Jul 42.6
    Mount Bundey South (Defence) 34.5   39.4 22 Sep 18.8   10.2 31 Jul 36.0
    Murganella Airstrip 32.3   36.5 25 Sep 18.7   9.3 29 Jul 10.2
    Noonamah Airstrip 34.3   38.4 5 Sep 19.1   8.9 30 Jul 63.2
    Oenpelli Airport 34.9   39.2 27 Sep 20.6   11.2 31 Jul 7.4
    Pirlangimpi Airport 32.5 +0.4 36.2 23 Sep 20.4 +0.5 12.0 31 Jul 59.6 62.7 average 95%
    Point Fawcett 31.9 +0.9 36.0 8 Sep 19.5 0.0 11.3 31 Jul 14.8 52.1 average 28%
    Port Keats Airport 32.7 +0.5 37.5 27 Aug 19.5 +1.3 10.3 5 Jun 56.0 32.7 high 171%
    Tindal RAAF 33.7 +1.5 39.3 29 Sep 16.8 +0.8 7.3 30 Jul 15.0 14.7 high 102%
    Arnhem (district 14BC)
    Cape Wessel 30.8   33.4 24 Sep 24.5   22.1 18 Aug 192.0 165.5 average 116%
    Gove Airport 29.9 +0.8 32.9 25 Sep     14.6 18 Aug 83.2 149.7 average 56%
    Groote Eylandt Airport 30.7 +0.4 36.0 28 Sep 17.6 +0.7 8.7 30 Jul 23.4 48.4 average 48%
    Maningrida Airport 32.0 +0.6 35.2 27 Aug 19.9 +0.3 13.5 30 Jul 37.0 38.0 average 97%
    Milingimbi Airport 32.4 +1.2 35.0 15 Jun 20.7 +0.3 14.4 31 Jul 6.6 41.6 low 16%
    Warruwi Airport 30.6 +0.8 35.0 25 Sep 23.2 +0.6 19.2 19 Aug 2.0 22.3 low 9%
    Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
    Borroloola Airport 32.9 +0.8 38.7 27 Sep 14.4 +0.1 5.1 14 Jul 11.0 14.0 average 79%
    Centre Island 28.5 +0.3 34.1 23 Sep 20.9 +0.4 14.4 23 May 9.8 20.9 average 47%
    Daly Waters Airstrip 32.2 +1.1 38.9 21 Sep 14.4 +0.3 6.0 24 May 12.0 13.4 high 90%
    McArthur River Mine Airport 32.8 +0.8 39.8 27 Sep 14.8 +0.2 4.4 14 Jul 7.6 15.6 average 49%
    Ngukurr Airport 33.2   40.1 21 Sep 16.7   7.1 30 Jul 2.2
    Victoria (district 14F)
    Bradshaw 34.6 +0.8 40.4 20 Sep 18.8 +1.1 9.9 15 Jul 18.8 19.3 high 97%
    Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 33.8   40.6 28 Sep 19.3   10.4 15 Jul 5.0
    Bradshaw - Koolendong Valley (Defence) 34.0   40.5 28 Sep 13.7   4.0 29 Jul 27.6
    Lajamanu Airport 30.6 +1.0 39.3 21 Sep 13.9 +1.8 4.9 14 Jul 32.0 20.9 high 153%
    Victoria River Downs 32.9 +1.2 40.8 20 Sep 14.7 +0.7 5.7 14 Jul 38.4 16.6 high 231%
    Wave Hill 31.7 +0.9 40.2 21 Sep 15.7 +2.1 3.2 14 Jul 14.0 30.8 average 45%
    Barkly (district 15A)
    Elliott 30.9 0.0 39.7 21 Sep 15.1 +1.0 6.0 14 Jul 16.8 21.0 average 80%
    Tennant Creek Airport 28.5 +1.2 38.2 21 Sep 15.8 +0.9 6.7 23 May 16.2 28.6 average 57%
    Alice Springs (district 15B)
    Alice Springs Airport 24.2 +1.6 35.9 20 Sep 6.7 0.0 -0.9 28 Jun 6.0 62.4 low 10%
    Arltunga     35.3 20 Sep 6.0 -0.1 -4.2 25 Jun 9.0 57.0 low 16%
    Jervois 25.7 +0.9 38.5 20 Sep 8.2 +0.1 0.2 14 Jul 4.4 57.4 low 8%
    Rabbit Flat 29.6 +0.6 40.1 30 Sep     1.3 15 Jul 21.0 30.3 average 69%
    Territory Grape Farm 26.0 +0.6 36.8 20 Sep 8.3 +0.4 0.0 13 Jul 1.4 49.1 v low 3%
    Walungurru Airport 27.4 +0.9 37.7 8 Sep 14.3 +1.2 8.1 22 Jun 10.6 49.4 average 21%
    Yulara Airport 24.8 +1.2 36.8 8 Sep 7.3 +0.1 -0.4 24 Jun 15.6 58.4 low 27%

    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 11 am on Thursday 1 October 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