Northern Territory in May to September 2021: warm days overall in the Top End for the northern dry season

The 2021 dry season (May to September) saw warmer than average days and nights for the Northern Territory. Territory-wide, mean temperatures were above average for every month during the dry season.

It was a dry start with May the ninth-driest on record for the NT, followed by a wet June. July and August were below average, while September was close to average across the NT.

Fifth-warmest mean maximum temperature for the dry season

  • Averaged across the Northern Territory, the mean maximum temperature for the 5 months of the dry season was the fifth-highest ever recorded at 1.52 °C above the long-term average.
  • All months of the dry season saw above average mean monthly maximum temperatures, and July was the warmest on record.
  • Some sites had their highest May to September temperature on record.
  • Some sites had their highest May to September mean daily maximum temperature on record. Darwin Airport had its equal highest dry season mean maximum temperature on record.
  • Averaged across the NT, the mean minimum temperature for the 5 months of the dry season was the 0.60 °C above the long-term average; the mean temperature was 1.06 °C above the long-term average.
  • May saw a below average mean monthly minimum temperature for the NT, while the remaining months from June to September saw above average mean minimum temperatures.

Below average rainfall in the north and south

  • Territory-wide, the May to September period rainfall was 52% above the long-term average.
  • It was a dry start with May the ninth-driest on record for the NT, but it was followed by a wetter than usual June.
  • July and August were both drier than usual; September saw close to average rainfall Territory-wide, with thunderstorms across the NT during the month.

Darwin Airport

  • Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 50.6 mm, which is 113% of the long-term average of 44.8 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Darwin Airport was 32.9 °C, which is 1.4 °C above the long-term average of 31.5 °C.
  • The warmest day was 38.0 °C on 21 September, and the coolest day was on 4 July when the temperature reached 29.0 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Darwin Airport was 21.8 °C, which is 0.9 °C above the long-term average of 20.9 °C.
  • The coldest morning was 17.4 °C on 7 August, and the warmest morning was on 2 September when the minimum temperature was 26.1 °C.
  • Darwin Airport had 28 nights with temperatures below 20 °C during the 2021 dry season, well below the long-term average of 51 for the 5-month period.

Alice Springs

  • Total rainfall for Alice Springs was 27.2 mm rainfall, which compares to the long-term average of 62.4 mm.
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Alice Springs was 23.7 °C, which is 1.1 °C above the long-term average of 22.7 °C.
  • The warmest day was 33.7 °C on 16 September, and the coolest day was on the 23 June when the temperature reached 13.7 °C.
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Alice Springs was 6.4 °C, which is 0.3 °C below the long-term average of 6.7 °C.
  • The coldest morning was -2.2 °C on 10 June, and the warmest morning was on the 25 May when the minimum temperature was 14.5 °C.
  • Alice Springs Airport had 7 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 2021
Hottest day 41.3 °C at Victoria River Downs on 30 Sep
Warmest days on average 35.2 °C at Oenpelli Airport
Coolest days on average 23.9 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Coldest day 13.7 °C at Yulara Airport on 22 Jun
13.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport on 23 Jun
Coldest night -2.7 °C at Watarrka on 6 Jul
Coolest nights on average 6.5 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Warmest nights on average 25.1 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 27.3 °C at Charles Point on 4 Sep
27.3 °C at Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) on 21 Sep
27.3 °C at Victoria River Downs on 29 Sep
Warmest on average overall 28.4 °C at Oenpelli Airport
Coolest on average overall 15.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 149.2 mm at Cape Wessel
Wettest day 42.2 mm at Dum In Mirrie on the 4th
Strongest wind gust 74 km/h at Cape Wessel on 8 Sep
74 km/h at Walungurru Airport on 21 Sep

Maps

Observed Anomaly Decile 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
Birrindudu 80.0 on 4 Sep 41.0 on 17 May 2007 28



Record highest May to September temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Darwin Airport 38.0 on 21 Sep 37.7 on 17 Sep 1983 81 31.5
Victoria River Downs 41.3 on 30 Sep 40.8 on 20 Sep 2020 57 31.7
Channel Point 38.0 on 21 Sep 36.6 on 26 Sep 2001 28 30.2
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 38.1 on 21 Sep 37.5 on 8 Sep 2020 23 31.3



Record highest May to September mean daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Darwin Airport 32.9 = 32.9 in 1998 79 31.5
Gove Airport 30.3 = 30.3 in 2017 41 29.1
Jabiru Airport 34.8 34.6 in 1998 41 33.5
Ngayawili 31.6 31.5 in 2016 20 30.6



Record highest May to September mean temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
May to September
Gove Airport 26.4 26.3 in 1998 41 24.9



Summary statistics for May to September 2021

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
May
to September
2021
Diff
from
average
Highest for
May
to September
2021
Mean for
May
to September
2021
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
May
to September
2021
Total for
May
to September
2021
Average
for
May
to September
Rank of
May
to September
2021
Fraction of
May
to September
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.1 +0.9 38.0 15 Sep 19.3 +1.3 13.3 21 Jun 54.8 39.0 average 141%
Central Arnhem Plateau 31.5 +0.9 37.0 29 Sep 18.2 +0.9 12.0 22 Jul 0.8 17.0 average 5%
Charles Point 31.0   36.9 3 May 22.4   18.9 22 Jul 47.2


Croker Island Airport 31.6   34.8 30 Aug 23.0   18.2 5 Jul 6.4


Darwin Airport 32.9 +1.4 38.0 21 Sep 21.8 +0.9 17.4 7 Aug 50.6 44.8 high 113%
Delamere Weapons Range 32.3 +0.6 38.8 30 Sep 17.3 +0.3 10.1 13 Jun 4.4 10.0 average 44%
Douglas River Research Farm 34.4 +0.9 39.6 16 Sep 16.1 +0.9 7.8 21 Jun 4.2 20.5 average 20%
Jabiru Airport 34.8 +1.3 39.2 15 Sep 21.6 +1.4 16.0 23 Jul 0.8 34.1 low 2%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 34.7   39.3 21 Sep 20.1   14.9 21 Jun 9.4


McCluer Island 28.9 +0.5 32.3 11 May 25.1 +1.0 22.5 24 Jul 10.8 60.6 low 18%
Middle Point 34.3 +0.4 39.7 21 Sep 17.6 +1.0 9.6 7 Aug 33.6 39.1 average 86%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 34.5   39.1 16 Sep 20.7   15.4 7 Aug 7.4


Mount Bundey South (Defence) 34.7   39.4 15 Sep 19.0   11.5 22 Jul 0.4


Murganella Airstrip 32.5   35.2 21 Sep 19.2   10.9 7 Aug 5.0


Noonamah Airstrip 34.8   39.7 21 Sep 18.9   12.0 7 Aug 23.2


Oenpelli Airport 35.2   39.1 15 Sep 21.6   13.5 22 Jul 0


Pirlangimpi Airport 33.5 +1.4 37.3 21 Sep 20.6 +0.7 15.5 21 Jun 38.4 62.2 average 62%
Point Fawcett 31.9 +0.9 35.4 5 Sep 19.6 +0.1 14.3 7 Aug 69.6 52.8 high 132%
Point Stuart 33.2   38.2 21 Sep 19.9   13.4 22 Jul 68.8 37.7 high 182%
Port Keats Airport 33.1 +0.9 38.7 21 Sep 19.0 +0.7 12.0 12 Jun 34.0 32.8 average 104%
Tindal RAAF 33.2 +1.0 38.8 28 Sep 16.4 +0.4 9.2 7 Aug 0 14.3 lowest 0%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 31.1   33.1 31 Jul 24.9   22.2 8 Sep 149.2 165.0 average 90%
Gove Airport 30.3 +1.2 33.4 30 Aug 22.5 +1.8 17.7 24 Jul 45.2 147.3 low 31%
Groote Eylandt Airport 30.6 +0.3 35.3 15 Sep 18.3 +1.3 10.4 8 Aug 21.6 47.3 average 46%
Maningrida Airport 32.4 +1.0 37.2 21 Sep 20.5 +0.9 14.1 22 Jul 6.4 36.3 low 18%
Milingimbi Airport 31.9 +0.6 36.6 21 Sep 21.4 +0.9 16.2 5 Jul 8.0 39.6 low 20%
Ngayawili 31.6 +1.0 35.1 21 Sep 21.7 +1.2 17.5 4 Jul 9.2 41.0 low 22%
Warruwi Airport 30.8 +1.0 33.4 12 May 23.7 +1.1 19.9 7 Aug 0 22.1 lowest 0%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 33.2 +1.1 39.8 15 Sep 14.5 +0.2 6.0 11 Jun 5.4 13.7 average 39%
Bulman 33.4 +0.7 39.2 30 Sep 17.3 +1.3 9.8 22 Jul 0.2 36.4 v low 1%
Centre Island 28.9 +0.7 34.3 26 Sep 21.1 +0.6 16.3 10 Jun 2.6 20.6 low 13%
Daly Waters Airstrip 32.4 +1.3 39.0 18 Sep 13.6 -0.5 4.8 12 Jun 0 13.1 lowest 0%
McArthur River Mine Airport 33.0 +1.0 39.2 16 Sep 15.0 +0.4 7.1 11 Jul 3.4 15.4 average 22%
Ngukurr Airport 33.3   39.9 30 Sep 16.3   8.5 20 Jun 1.0


Victoria (district 14F)
Bradshaw 34.5 +0.7 40.2 30 Sep 18.7 +0.9 10.5 12 Jun 0.4 18.3 low 2%
Bradshaw - Angallari Valley (Defence) 34.1   40.3 30 Sep 19.3   10.4 6 Jul 0.4


Bradshaw - Koolendong Valley (Defence) 34.2   39.5 18 Sep 14.9   7.3 8 Aug 0


Lajamanu Airport 30.3 +0.6 38.7 30 Sep 12.9 +0.7 3.3 6 Jul 39.2 21.2 high 185%
Victoria River Downs 33.1 +1.4 41.3 30 Sep 14.1 +0.1 5.7 5 Jul 1.8 16.5 average 11%
Wave Hill 32.1 +1.3 39.8 30 Sep 14.2 +0.6 3.5 11 Jun 7.8 30.3 average 26%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 31.2 +0.3 40.0 30 Sep 15.2 +1.1 6.0 11 Jun 55.6 21.6 high 257%
Tennant Creek Airport 28.7 +1.4 39.1 30 Sep 15.7 +0.8 7.3 11 Jun 13.2 28.3 average 47%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 23.9 +1.3 37.1 16 Sep 6.5 -0.2 -2.2 10 Jun 27.2 61.9 average 44%
Curtin Springs 24.1 +1.0 36.4 16 Sep     -1.6 6 Jul 25.8 60.9 low 42%
Jervois 25.8 +1.0 38.6 28 Sep 8.6 +0.5 -0.2 11 Jun 25.4 56.8 average 45%
Rabbit Flat 30.0 +1.0 39.8 16 Sep 9.3 -0.5 -1.0 5 Jul 10.8 29.6 average 36%
Territory Grape Farm 26.0 +0.6 36.2 28 Sep 7.0 -1.0 -1.8 11 Jun 46.2 49.0 average 94%
Walungurru Airport 26.5 -0.1 37.8 16 Sep 13.7 +0.5 4.6 24 Jun 20.0 47.9 average 42%
Yulara Airport 24.1 +0.5 36.7 16 Sep 7.8 +0.6 -0.3 6 Jul 23.6 57.2 average 41%

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 pm on Monday 4 October 2021. 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