Northern Territory in May to September 2016: A very warm and unusually wet dry season

The Northern Territory had more than three times its usual rainfall during the dry season, making 2016 the second-wettest May to September period on record. Overall, it was the third warmest dry season on record, with overnight temperatures being the highest on record.

    Much wetter than normal

    • Each month in the dry season had above-average rainfall, Territory-wide: May had its sixth highest total on reord, while August had the seventh highest and September the highest recorded for the month
    • The relatively high rainfall totals were a combination of regular frontal systems and rain-bearing cloudbands moving across the southern half of the NT, and unseasonable rainfall events in the Top End in all months except June
    • Many sites had their highest daily rainfall ever recorded during dry season months
    • Many other sites had their highest total dry season rainfall on record or their highest for several decades
    • Flood watches were issued for inland rivers across parts of the NT during May and September

    Very warm

    • The mean temperature was the third highest ever recorded during a dry season, 1.56 °C above the long-term average
    • The mean minimum temperature was the warmest ever recorded at 2.08 °C above average, beating the previous record set in 1998
    • The mean maximum temperature was 1.03 °C above average
    • Many sites had their highest dry season mean temperature, mean daily maximum temperature or mean daily minimum temperature on record
    • Lack of cool nights in Darwin and Alice Springs

    • Overnight temperatures in Darwin fell below 20 °C a total of 29 times, which was the 12th fewest in a dry season since 1941; the average number is 51 nights
    • The first of the cool nights in Darwin occurred on 21 June, the latest this has occurred
    • It was also a late start to cool overnight temperatures in the southern NT, with Alice Springs observing its first sub-zero °C overnight minimum on July 14th; for the May to September period Alice Springs had only nine such nights compared with the average of 13.
    • Further information

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      Extremes in May to September 2016
      Hottest day 40.7 °C at Victoria River Downs on 28 Sep
      40.7 °C at Bradshaw on 30 Sep
      Warmest days on average 35.1 °C at Bradshaw
      Coolest days on average 22.5 °C at Curtin Springs
      22.5 °C at Yulara Airport
      Coldest day 10.0 °C at Arltunga on 13 Jul
      Coldest night -4.5 °C at Kulgera on 16 Jul
      Coolest nights on average 8.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
      Warmest nights on average 25.5 °C at McCluer Island
      Warmest night 28.9 °C at McCluer Island on 7 May
      28.9 °C at McCluer Island on 9 May
      Warmest on average overall 28.4 °C at Jabiru Airport
      Coolest on average overall 15.5 °C at Alice Springs Airport
      15.5 °C at Curtin Springs
      Wettest overall 412.8 mm at Cape Wessel
      Wettest day 168.2 mm at Mainoru Outstation Store on 19 Sep
      Strongest wind gust 76 km/h at Walungurru Airport on 7 Jun
      76 km/h at Yulara Airport on 28 Sep

      Maps
      ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
      Total
      rainfall
      Mean
      daily
      maximum
      temperatures
      Mean
      daily
      minimum
      temperatures

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      Record highest May to September daily rainfall
      New record
      (mm)
      Old
      record
      Years of
      record
      Rosewood 82.2 on 9 May 63.5 on 13 Jul 1968 123
      Hermannsburg 69.4 on 8 May 68.8 on 28 May 1921 108
      Vaughan Springs 85.0 on 8 May 72.4 on 30 Jun 1986 57
      Newhaven 96.0 on 8 May 64.0 on 12 May 1993 55
      Camfield 64.2 on 19 Sep 55.9 on 13 Jul 1968 48
      Darwin River Dam 76.4 on 10 May 66.2 on 14 May 1993 46
      Jabiru Airport 107.8 on 19 Sep 76.2 on 16 May 2014 42
      Palm Valley 64.7 on 8 May 62.8 on 11 May 1993 36
      Mulga Park 53.0 on 8 May 51.0 on 11 Jun 2001 30
      Glen Helen Lodge 50.0 on 7 May 38.0 on 12 May 2013 25
      Ban Ban Springs 67.0 on 4 Sep 56.2 on 8 May 1990 24
      Acacia (Mocatto Road) 94.6 on 10 May 92.4 on 4 May 2014 23
      Borroloola Airport 26.2 on 10 May 24.6 on 3 May 2012 22
      Girraween 44.1 on 1 May 41.9 on 4 May 2014 21



      Record highest May to September total rainfall
      New record
      (mm)
      Old
      record
      Years of
      record
      Average for
      May to September
      Katherine Council 155.4 93.4 in 1882 135 15.7
      Avon Downs 217.2 161.0 in 1978 106 34.1
      Camfield 140.0 138.2 in 1973 48 23.1
      Darwin River Dam 188.6 141.8 in 1990 44 42.8
      Pirlangimpi Airport 212.0 162.3 in 1973 44 64.9
      Wave Hill 336.4 226.8 in 1978 43 33.1
      Jabiru Airport 318.0 140.2 in 2014 37 36.5
      McMinns Lagoon 136.2 125.4 in 1987 34 41.7
      Humpty Doo Collard Road 183.0 126.4 in 1988 32 46.7
      Elizabeth Valley 162.0 120.6 in 2004 26 44.8
      Trephina Gorge 244.4 236.2 in 2010 23 70.4
      Borroloola Airport 90.6 72.2 in 2012 22 14.0
      CSIRO Berrimah 125.8 114.2 in 2004 21 34.6
      Walker Creek 137.9 132.0 in 2010 21 37.2
      Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 171.0 127.4 in 2014 20 45.6

      Highest May to September total rainfall for at least 20 years
      Observed
      (mm)
      Most recent
      higher
      Average for
      May to September
      Rosewood 100.2 176.3 in 1968* 19.5
      Austral Downs 175.7 252.0 in 1968* 40.8
      Larrimah 82.9 132.8 in 1973* 19.7
      Coniston 164.5 255.0 in 1968* 56.5
      Howard Springs Nature Park 155.1 307.4 in 1968* 53.8
      Middle Point Rangers 155.3 327.7 in 1968* 39.8
      Brunette Downs 93.9 165.6 in 1986 26.7
      Darwin Airport 127.2 175.0 in 1988 45.1
      McArthur River Mine Airport 60.0 73.8 in 1986* 16.8
      Nutwood Downs 112.6 166.7 in 1986* 19.7
      Stokes Hill 139.0 233.9 in 1968* 49.6
      Black Point 136.5 227.8 in 1990* 46.7
      Tindal RAAF 80.6 146.0 in 1986* 16.1
      Darwin Botanic Gardens 179.8 207.4 in 1987* 54.4

      * 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 40.7 on 28 Sep = 40.7 on 27 Sep 2013 52 31.6



      Record highest May to September mean daily maximum temperature
      New record
      (°C)
      Old
      record
      Years of
      record
      Average for
      May to September
      Warruwi Airport 31.2 31.0 in 2010 50 29.8
      Daly Waters Airstrip 33.5 33.2 in 1942 46 30.9
      Centre Island 29.6 29.2 in 2013 40 28.1
      Gove Airport 30.2 29.9 in 1998 36 29.0
      McArthur River Mine Airport 33.3 33.2 in 1988 35 31.9
      Tindal RAAF 33.8 33.4 in 1988 28 32.0
      Borroloola Airport 33.3 33.0 in 1998 22 31.9
      Lajamanu Airport 31.7 31.1 in 2005 20 29.4



      Record highest May to September daily minimum temperature
      New record
      (°C)
      Old
      record
      Years of
      record
      Average for
      May to September
      Centre Island 27.9 on 7 May 26.9 on 3 May 2010 42 20.4
      Gove Airport 26.6 on 11 May 26.5 on 3 May 2003 39 20.5



      Record highest May to September mean daily minimum temperature
      New record
      (°C)
      Old
      record
      Years of
      record
      Average for
      May to September
      Brunette Downs 15.4 15.1 in 1988 47 13.2
      Victoria River Downs 17.0 = 17.0 in 2010 47 14.0
      Centre Island 22.1 21.8 in 1998 40 20.4
      McArthur River Mine Airport 18.0 17.7 in 2010 35 14.4
      Elliott 16.6 16.1 in 1986 34 14.0
      Black Point 23.3 23.2 in 1998 22 22.0
      Lajamanu Airport 15.9 14.6 in 2005 20 11.9



      Record highest May to September mean temperature
      New record
      (°C)
      Old
      record
      Years of
      record
      Average for
      May to September
      Darwin Airport 27.6 = 27.6 in 1998 74 26.2
      Victoria River Downs 25.3 24.9 in 2013 47 22.7
      Warruwi Airport 27.6 = 27.6 in 2010 47 26.1
      Centre Island 25.8 25.3 in 1998 40 24.3
      McArthur River Mine Airport 25.7 25.1 in 2010 35 23.2
      Tindal RAAF 26.0 25.6 in 1988 28 24.0
      Douglas River 26.2 26.1 in 1998 24 24.3
      Borroloola Airport 24.9 = 24.9 in 1998 22 23.1
      Lajamanu Airport 23.8 22.8 in 2005 20 20.6

      Highest May to September mean temperature for at least 20 years
      Observed
      (°C)
      Most recent
      higher
      Average for
      May to September
      Daly Waters Airstrip 24.2 24.3 in 1958* 22.5

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




      Summary statistics for May to September 2016
      Maximum temperatures
      (°C)
      Minimum temperatures
      (°C)
      Rainfall
      (millimetres)
      Mean for
      May
      to September
      2016
      Diff
      from
      average
      Highest for
      May
      to September
      2016
      Mean for
      May
      to September
      2016
      Diff
      from
      average
      Lowest for
      May
      to September
      2016
      Total for
      May
      to September
      2016
      Average
      for
      May
      to September
      Rank of
      May
      to September
      2016
      Fraction of
      May
      to September
      average
      Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
      Batchelor Airport 34.1 +1.0 38.4 11 Sep 19.9 +2.0 9.7 18 Jul 178.4 41.4 v high 431%
      Black Point 31.8 +1.2 34.4 20 May 23.3 +1.3 16.9 17 Jul 136.5 46.7 v high 292%
      Bradshaw 35.1 +1.5 40.7 30 Sep 20.4 +2.9 8.4 6 Aug 2.4 23.3 average 10%
      Central Arnhem Plateau 31.3 +1.0 35.2 27 Sep 19.1 +2.1 9.5 5 Aug 7.2 22.6 average 32%
      Croker Island Airport 32.0   35.0 26 Sep 23.0   16.4 5 Aug 0
      Darwin Airport 32.8 +1.4 35.5 22 Sep 22.5 +1.6 13.3 5 Aug 127.2 45.1 v high 282%
      Delamere Weapons Range 33.0 +1.5 38.8 29 Sep     9.1 6 Aug 28.8 11.9 high 242%
      Douglas River 34.6 +1.3 39.8 11 Sep 17.7 +2.6 5.3 6 Aug 87.6 22.1 high 396%
      Jabiru Airport 34.4 +0.9 38.1 11 Sep 22.3 +2.2 14.6 18 Jul 318.0 36.5 highest 871%
      Katherine Country Club 33.9   39.0 27 Sep 18.2   6.2 6 Aug 107.8
      McCluer Island 29.5 +1.2 32.7 10 May 25.5 +1.6 20.5 16 Jul 97.8 71.4 high 137%
      Middle Point 34.8 +1.1 38.4 11 Sep 18.9 +2.5 5.5 5 Aug 138.8 44.9 v high 309%
      Noonamah Airstrip 34.4   38.0 11 Sep 20.5   9.1 18 Jul 128.6
      Oenpelli Airport 35.0   38.5 12 Sep 21.6   12.4 18 Jul 127.6
      Pirlangimpi Airport 33.0 +0.9 35.0 6 Sep 22.0 +2.2 13.4 6 Aug 212.0 64.9 highest 327%
      Point Fawcett 32.4 +1.6 35.1 6 Sep 20.8 +1.2 10.2 6 Aug 105.6 59.5 high 177%
      Point Stuart 32.1   34.8 16 Aug 21.7   10.2 5 Aug 269.6 40.9 v high 659%
      Port Keats Airport 33.1 +1.0 36.4 28 Sep 20.1 +2.0 10.8 18 Jul 79.6 33.3 high 239%
      Tindal RAAF 33.8 +1.8 38.7 25 Sep 18.3 +2.3 7.3 5 Aug 80.6 16.1 v high 501%
      Arnhem (district 14BC)
      Cape Wessel 31.3   34.6 26 Sep 25.2   21.8 18 Jul 412.8 168.9 high 244%
      Gove Airport 30.2 +1.2 33.2 10 May 22.3 +1.8 13.5 18 Jul
      Groote Eylandt Airport 30.9 +0.7 36.0 27 Sep 19.5 +2.8 9.7 28 Aug 299.2 54.2 v high 552%
      Maningrida Airport 32.4 +1.1 35.4 5 Sep 21.3 +1.8 12.0 5 Aug 86.0 39.8 high 216%
      Milingimbi Airport 32.3 +1.3 35.2 5 Sep 22.4 +2.2 13.8 5 Aug 53.0 50.5 average 105%
      Ngayawili 31.5 +1.0 34.0 23 Sep 22.1 +1.7 14.3 17 Jul 103.8 45.2 high 230%
      Warruwi Airport 31.2 +1.4 33.9 25 Sep 24.1 +1.6 18.0 18 Jul 75.8 22.4 v high 338%
      Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
      Borroloola Airport 33.3 +1.4 39.7 25 Sep 16.6 +2.3 5.6 5 Aug 90.6 14.0 highest 647%
      Bulman 33.8 +1.3 39.2 27 Sep 19.3 +3.8 8.2 5 Aug 260.2 47.8 v high 544%
      Centre Island 29.6 +1.5 35.3 28 Sep 22.1 +1.7 14.6 15 Jul 47.4 21.8 high 217%
      Daly Waters Airstrip 33.5 +2.6 40.3 30 Sep 15.0 +0.9 4.1 17 Jul 25.6 14.1 high 182%
      McArthur River Mine Airport 33.3 +1.4 40.1 27 Sep 18.0 +3.6 7.7 6 Aug 60.0 16.8 v high 357%
      Ngukurr Airport 33.6   39.8 28 Sep 19.2   7.2 5 Aug 134.8
      Victoria (district 14F)
      Lajamanu Airport 31.7 +2.3 39.4 26 Sep 15.9 +4.0 3.4 4 Aug 61.8 21.3 high 290%
      Victoria River Downs 33.7 +2.1 40.7 28 Sep 17.0 +3.0 4.2 5 Aug 46.2 16.8 high 275%
      Barkly (district 15A)
      Brunette Downs 30.2 +0.9 38.5 1 May 15.4 +2.2 5.0 4 Aug 93.9 26.7 v high 352%
      Elliott 31.5 +0.6 39.2 28 Sep 16.6 +2.6 4.5 4 Aug 27.2 22.3 high 122%
      Tennant Creek Airport 28.4 +1.2 37.1 13 Sep     6.2 16 Jul 86.8 29.1 v high 298%
      Alice Springs (district 15B)
      Alice Springs Airport 22.9 +0.4 33.5 8 Sep 8.2 +1.5 -4.0 15 Jul
      Curtin Springs 22.5 -0.5 31.5 28 Sep 8.5 +1.9 -0.2 4 Aug 187.5 63.0 v high 298%
      Jervois 24.1 -0.7 33.9 26 May 10.4 +2.3 0.1 29 Jun 215.4 60.6 v high 355%
      Rabbit Flat 29.9 +1.1 39.3 26 Sep 13.0 +3.3 -0.7 17 Jul 82.8 34.3 high 241%
      Territory Grape Farm 25.2 -0.1 34.9 1 May 10.0 +2.0 0.3 4 Aug 93.2 52.7 high 177%
      Walungurru Airport 26.0 -0.3 35.3 23 Sep 13.6 +0.5 4.6 13 Jul 148.4 61.1 high 243%
      Yulara Airport 22.5 -1.0 32.4 23 Sep 8.6 +1.4 -0.5 17 Jul 213.0 64.1 v high 332%

      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 8 am on Monday 3 October 2016. 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