Northern Territory in May to September 2022: warm across the Top End and relatively wet

Dry season (May to September) temperatures were very much above average across the Top End, with cool conditions prevailing only during July. Temperatures across the southern districts of the Northern Territory were generally close to average. Cloud bands crossed the Northern Territory from June to September, resulting in relatively wet conditions for many areas, particularly the Barkly, but parts of the Top End and around Alice Springs had close to average rainfall for the season.

Relatively wet

  • The dry season period (May to September) was wetter than usual for much of the Northern Territory.
  • For the Northern Territory as a whole, dry season rainfall was 8% above the 1961–1990 average, making it the wettest dry season since 2016.
  • Cloud bands crossed the Northern Territory in each month from June to September, bringing widespread moderate falls of rain.
  • Areas of the Barkly District received 50 to 100 mm overall, more than double the average for the dry season.
  • Humidity started to rise at the end of September and a south-easterly surge generated showers and storms across the northern Top End.
  • Some sites had their highest May to September daily rainfall on record from storms at the end of September.
  • A few sites had their highest total May to September rainfall on record or for at least 20 years

Warm across the Top End

  • Mean maximum and minimum temperatures across the Top End were above to very much above average (warmest 10% on record since 1910), but were generally close to average in southern districts.
  • For the Northern Territory as a whole the mean maximum and minimum temperatures were 0.67 °C and 0.64 °C respectively above the 1961–1990 average.
  • Across the Top End, temperatures were above average or very much above average in all months except July.
  • Bradshaw recorded 37.8 °C on 5 June, 0.1 °C below the Australian record June temperature, recorded at Bradshaw on 7 June 2016.
  • The July mean minimum temperature was 1.99 °C below average and the fifth-coolest on record, while the July mean maximum temperature was the coolest since 1997.
  • The daily minimum temperature at Darwin Airport was below 20 °C for all of July, only the third such occurrence after June 2011 and July 1965, while Alice Springs Airport had 15 consecutive nights (3 to 17 July) with a minimum temperature below 0 °C, a site record.
  • There was prolonged heat across the Top End in the second half of September.
  • A number of sites in the Top End had their highest May to September temperature on record or warmest May to September night on record during the second half of September.
  • The highest temperature recorded was 41.8 °C at Bradshaw – Angallari Valley on 17 September, 0.2 °C below the Northern Territory dry season record.
  • Victoria River Downs had 14 consecutive days above 39.0 °C from 14 to 27 September, exceeding the previous September record of 6 days in 1971.
  • A warmer than average dry season for the Top End is typical during negative Indian Ocean Dipole events and is also occurring against the background of a warmer climate.

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 18.2 mm, which is 41% of the long-term average of 44.5 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 32.4 °C, which is 0.9 °C above the long-term average of 31.5 °C.
  • The warmest day was 37.4 °C on 14 September, and the coolest day was on 29 June when the temperature reached 25.3 °C.
  • The 37.4 °C on the 14 September was the fourth-warmest September day on record at Darwin Airport.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 21.6 °C, which is 0.6 °C above the long-term average of 21.0 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 14.1 °C on 24 July, and the warmest morning was on 25 September when the minimum temperature was 27.4 °C.
  • The minimum temperature of 27.4 °C on the 25 September is a new dry season record for Darwin Airport.

Alice Springs Airport

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs Airport was 46.4 mm, which is 75% of the long-term average of 61.6 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 22.7 °C, which is 0.1 °C above the long-term average of 22.6 °C.
  • The warmest day was 35.7 °C on 20 September, and the coolest day was on 1 September when the temperature reached 13.5 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs Airport was 5.8 °C, which is 0.9 °C below the long-term average of 6.7 °C.
  • The coldest morning was −4.0 °C on 15 July, and the warmest morning was on 20 September when the minimum temperature was 21.8 °C.

Further information

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Extremes in May to September 2022
Hottest day 41.8 °C at Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) on 17 Sep
Warmest days on average 34.8 °C at Oenpelli Airport
Coolest days on average 22.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Coldest day 10.7 °C at Curtin Springs on 1 Jun
Coldest night -4.2 °C at Watarrka on 6 Jul
Coolest nights on average 5.8 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 24.9 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 28.5 °C at McCluer Island on 14 May
Warmest on average overall 27.9 °C at Cape Wessel
27.9 °C at Jabiru Airport
Coolest on average overall 14.3 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 338.8 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 109.4 mm at Cape Wessel on 30 Jun
Strongest wind gust 83 km/h at Walungurru Airport on 23 Aug

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
Inverway 55.0 on 1 Sep 43.0 on 9 Jul 1978 66
Tipperary 45.0 on 30 Sep 44.5 on 15 Sep 1943 52
Gilnockie 50.0 on 1 Jul 42.0 on 28 May 2010 34
Leanyer 54.6 on 29 Sep 52.8 on 13 May 2007 33
Thorak Cemetery 58.0 on 29 Sep 39.0 on 20 May 2004 30
Upper Fergusson River 49.4 on 29 Sep 35.4 on 17 Aug 2007 22
Charles Darwin University 92.7 on 29 Sep 55.0 on 25 Sep 2020 21
Milingimbi Airport 61.4 on 28 Sep 53.6 on 2 May 2009 20



Record highest May to September total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Thorak Cemetery 153.3 140.8 in 2004 22 30.2

Highest May to September total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
May to September
Warruwi Airport 143.2 185.5 in 1968* 23.3
Elliott 69.8 152.2 in 1995* 22.5

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




Record highest May to September temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Victoria River Downs 41.4 on 26 Sep 41.3 on 30 Sep 2021 58 31.7
Jabiru Airport 40.4 on 21 Sep 40.0 on 29 Sep 2003 48 33.6
McArthur River Mine Airport 40.9 on 21 Sep 40.6 on 26 Sep 2003 46 32.1
Douglas River Research Farm 40.7 on 21 Sep 40.6 on 28 Sep 1997 35 33.5
Tindal RAAF 40.8 on 21 Sep 40.0 on 27 Sep 2012 35 32.3
Lajamanu Airport 41.5 on 26 Sep 41.1 on 23 Sep 2012 31 29.7
Borroloola Airport 40.6 on 23 Sep 40.5 on 29 Sep 1996 29 32.1
Delamere Weapons Range 40.3 on 21 Sep 40.0 on 15 Sep 2003 26 31.7
Bradshaw 41.5 on 17 Sep = 41.5 on 23 Sep 2009 24 33.9



Record highest May to September daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Darwin Airport 27.4 on 25 Sep 27.2 on 22 Sep 2009 82 21.0
Victoria River Downs 28.4 on 22 Sep 28.0 on 30 Sep 1988 57 14.0
Gove Airport 26.6 on 9 May = 26.6 on 11 May 2016 45 20.7
Lajamanu Airport 27.8 on 27 Sep 27.5 on 21 Sep 2009 31 12.2
Channel Point 27.5 on 22 Sep 27.0 on 30 Sep 2017 29 19.1
Delamere Weapons Range 28.2 on 22 Sep 27.3 on 20 Sep 2020 26 17.0



Summary statistics for May to September 2022
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
to September
2022
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
to September
2022
Mean for
May
to September
2022
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
to September
2022
Total for
May
to September
2022
Average
for
May
to September
Rank of
May
to September
2022
Fraction of
May
to September
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 33.4 +0.2 38.7 21 Sep 18.8 +0.7 10.4 23 Jul 52.2 39.5 average 132%
Central Arnhem Plateau 31.5 +0.9 38.0 26 Sep 17.8 +0.5 7.8 23 Jul 36.4 18.0 high 202%
Channel Point 30.4 +0.2 34.0 29 Sep 19.4 +0.3 10.0 15 Jul 73.0 31.1 high 235%
Charles Point 30.3   34.4 9 May 22.4   15.8 12 Jul 60.4
Croker Island Airport 31.9   35.7 23 Sep 22.4   15.5 24 Jul 37.8
Darwin Airport 32.4 +0.9 37.4 14 Sep 21.6 +0.6 14.1 24 Jul 18.2 44.5 average 41%
Delamere Weapons Range 32.3 +0.6 40.3 21 Sep 18.2 +1.2 9.6 15 Jul 34.4 10.9 high 316%
Douglas River Research Farm 34.1 +0.6 40.7 21 Sep 16.3 +1.1 5.2 24 Jul 39.2 20.9 high 188%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 32.0 +0.7 36.1 30 Sep 20.2 -0.1 11.2 13 Jul 53.0 48.5 average 109%
Jabiru Airport 34.6 +1.0 40.4 21 Sep 21.1 +0.9 12.2 24 Jul 61.2 34.7 high 176%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 33.9   39.3 21 Sep 19.7   11.5 12 Jul 47.2
Knuckey Lagoon 33.2   38.2 21 Sep 19.2   10.3 24 Jul 126.2
McCluer Island 28.9 +0.5 32.6 16 May 24.9 +0.8 20.1 23 Jul 53.6 60.4 average 89%
Middle Point 34.0 +0.1 39.3 24 Sep 17.6 +1.0 6.7 15 Jul 5.6 37.5 low 15%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 34.1   39.8 21 Sep 20.5   12.6 24 Jul 25.4
Murganella Airstrip 32.8   37.6 25 Sep 18.7   8.9 23 Jul 76.2
Noonamah Airstrip 34.0   39.3 21 Sep 18.8   9.2 13 Jul 26.8
Oenpelli Airport 34.8   39.8 24 Sep 20.7   11.2 23 Jul 97.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 32.8 +0.6 36.0 22 Sep 20.4 +0.4 12.4 15 Jul 187.0 64.7 v high 289%
Point Fawcett 31.2 +0.1 34.8 21 Sep 19.6 +0.1 11.0 15 Jul 91.2 54.4 high 168%
Point Stuart 32.6   36.1 23 Aug 20.3   9.2 14 Jul 5.4 35.8 average 15%
Tindal RAAF 33.0 +0.7 40.8 21 Sep 17.0 +1.0 6.6 24 Jul 56.6 15.4 v high 368%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.1 +0.5 34.9 24 Sep 24.7 +0.3 21.6 18 Aug 338.8 170.8 high 198%
Gove Airport 29.7 +0.6 34.0 17 Sep 22.1 +1.4 13.8 18 Aug 232.6 149.2 high 156%
Groote Eylandt Airport 30.2 -0.1 36.1 19 Sep 17.9 +0.9 7.7 16 Aug 45.2 47.2 average 96%
Milingimbi Airport 31.9 +0.6 35.2 1 May 21.0 +0.5 13.6 6 Jul 108.4 43.5 high 249%
Ngayawili 31.3 +0.7 35.5 22 Sep 21.4 +0.8 12.5 6 Jul 34.6 40.8 average 85%
Warruwi Airport 30.8 +1.0 35.5 25 Sep 23.5 +0.9 18.1 23 Jul 143.2 23.3 v high 615%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 32.8 +0.7 40.6 23 Sep 15.5 +1.2 5.2 15 Jul 14.6 13.7 high 107%
Centre Island 28.6 +0.4 35.0 23 Sep 21.2 +0.7 15.3 16 Jul 0 20.2 lowest 0%
Daly Waters Airstrip 32.2 +1.1 40.5 17 Sep 14.7 +0.6 4.0 24 Jul 57.6 14.0 v high 411%
McArthur River Mine Airport 32.9 +0.8 40.9 21 Sep 15.3 +0.7 4.1 16 Jul 23.6 15.5 high 152%
Ngukurr Airport 33.3   40.8 17 Sep 17.3   5.8 14 Jul 5.2 17.3 average 30%
Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw 34.3 +0.4 41.5 17 Sep 18.2 +0.4 6.9 15 Jul 21.2 18.5 high 115%
Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 34.1   41.8 17 Sep 19.0   8.8 12 Jul 28.6
Bradshaw - Koolendong Valley (Defence) 33.9   41.3 21 Sep 14.2   3.1 15 Jul 9.2
Lajamanu Airport 30.7 +1.0 41.5 26 Sep 14.4 +2.2 3.8 12 Jul 3.0 20.9 average 14%
Victoria River Downs 33.0 +1.3 41.4 26 Sep 16.0 +2.0 4.2 13 Jul 26.0 16.5 high 158%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 30.4 -0.5 40.4 26 Sep 15.4 +1.2 6.4 13 Jul 69.8 22.5 v high 310%
Tennant Creek Airport 27.2 -0.1 39.1 26 Sep 15.1 +0.2 7.5 4 Jul 57.8 28.8 high 201%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 22.7 +0.1 35.7 20 Sep 5.8 -0.9 -4.0 15 Jul 46.4 61.6 average 75%
Jervois 24.3 -0.6 38.8 20 Sep 8.3 +0.2 -1.8 16 Jul 16.2 56.0 low 29%
Rabbit Flat 29.7 +0.7 40.8 26 Sep 10.6 +0.8 -1.6 8 Jul 7.6 28.7 low 26%
Territory Grape Farm 25.1 -0.3 36.6 20 Sep 8.2 +0.3 -2.5 7 Jul 34.6 48.6 average 71%
Walungurru Airport 25.8 -0.8 37.7 25 Sep 13.7 +0.5 4.5 4 Jul 76.0 49.3 high 154%
Yulara Airport 22.9 -0.7 35.6 19 Sep 7.8 +0.6 -2.0 6 Jul 56.4 57.2 average 99%

Notes

The Seasonal climate summary, usually published in the first week of the following 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 7 pm on Monday 3 October 2022. 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.

Information about Australian Indigenous seasonal calendars is available at the Indigenous Weather Knowledge website.

Further information

Media
(03) 9669 4057

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