Northern Territory in December 2017: dry and warm

Maximum temperatures across the Northern Territory were warmer than average in most areas, with minimum temperatures very much above average in the northwest and southeast. Rainfall totals were well below average over much of the Territory.

Tenth-warmest daytime temperatures on record

  • Averaged across the Territory, the mean daily maximum temperature was tenth-warmest on record, 1.03 °C above the long-term average of 36.8 °C
  • The mean temperature (the average of the maximum and minimum) was seventh-highest on record, and highest since 1990
  • Some sites broke December temperature records including Dum In Murrie Airstrip which recorded its highest December temperature with 36.8 °C on the 5th, Jervois station its warmest December night with a minimum of only 32.5 °C on the 29th, and Gove Airport which observed its highest December mean daily maximum temperature on record
  • Jervois station's overnight temperature of 32.5 °C is also the equal warmest minimum temperature on record for December in the Northern Territory
  • Despite the general warmth, there was some unseasonably cool weather; a ridge of high pressure through central parts of the country created mostly clear conditions on the 5th and 6th and some sites had their lowest December temperature on record
  • Daly Waters Airstrip in the central top end had its lowest December mean daily minimum temperature on record

Low rainfall across the Northern Territory

  • Averaged across the Territory, rainfall was 35% below the long-term average, and lowest since 2002
  • A lack of monsoonal activity resulted in below to very much below average rainfall totals for northern regions
  • Stations in the east, northeast, and southern parts of the Territory had their lowest total December rainfall for at least 20 years
  • Nitmiluk Rangers station had the highest NT rainfall for the month, due to heavy rainfall associated with thunderstorms around the 15th and 17th

Darwin Airport

  • Conditions were wet in the Darwin area during the first week of December when a persistent trough produced heavy rainfall with thunderstorms on the 2nd and 3rd
  • Overall, total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 182.4 mm, which is 72% of the long-term average of 253.5 mm
  • Both maximum and minimum temperatures were about a degree warmer than average

Further information

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Extremes in December 2017
Hottest day 45.8 °C at Jervois on the 29th
Warmest days on average 40.2 °C at Walungurru Airport
Coolest days on average 32.8 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 25.0 °C at Kulgera on the 2nd
Coldest night 10.0 °C at Arltunga on the 5th
Coolest nights on average 20.3 °C at Arltunga
Warmest nights on average 28.1 °C at Centre Island
Warmest night 32.5 °C at Jervois on the 29th
Warmest on average overall 32.9 °C at Ngukurr Airport
Coolest on average overall 28.2 °C at Arltunga
Wettest overall 396.6 mm at Nitmiluk Rangers
Wettest day 171.2 mm at Pirlangimpi Airport on the 25th
Strongest wind gust 96 km/h at Lajamanu Airport on the 24th

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



Lowest December total rainfall for at least 20 years

Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
December
Elliott 0.4 0.0 in 1976* 105.4
Centre Island 15.0 5.0 in 1986 133.0
Nhulunbuy 4.0 0.6 in 1985* 186.4
Old Delamere 32.2 26.1 in 1939* 148.4
Darwin River Dam 106.9 94.6 in 1989* 274.1
Darwin Botanic Gardens 86.8 63.5 in 1991* 266.5
Elizabeth Valley 127.8 74.6 in 1991* 304.6
Timber Creek 49.7 42.4 in 1992 188.5
Bradshaw Homestead 79.6 78.3 in 1992* 172.3
Shoal Bay 72.8 34.3 in 1991* 320.4
Jabiru Airport 107.2 50.0 in 1997 226.9

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




Record highest December temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 36.8 on the 5th 35.9 on the 16th in 2004 20 32.5



Record highest December mean daily maximum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Gove Airport 34.9 34.7 in 1967 38 33.0

Highest December mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Jervois 39.3 39.9 in 1990 37.7



Record highest December daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Jervois 32.5 on the 29th 32.4 on the 1st in 1996 50 21.5



Record lowest December temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Daly Waters Airstrip 13.0 on the 6th 14.6 on the 23rd in 1950 48 24.2
Tindal RAAF 18.1 on the 6th 19.2 on the 30th in 2000 30 24.8
Borroloola Airport 18.2 on the 5th 18.3 on the 3rd in 2010 24 25.2



Record lowest December mean daily minimum temperature

New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Daly Waters Airstrip 22.8 22.9 in 1950 47 24.2



Highest December mean temperature for at least 20 years

Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Gove Airport 29.9 30.2 in 1990 28.8
Victoria River Downs 32.2 32.9 in 1992 31.4



Summary statistics for December 2017

Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2017
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2017
Mean for
December
2017
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2017
Total for
December
2017
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2017
Fraction of
December
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.8 +1.0 36.5 11th 23.8 -0.3 20.9 17th 145.0 275.4 v low 53%
Black Point 33.1 +0.6 34.9 4th 26.2 +0.1 22.6 3rd 232.6 213.3 average 109%
Bradshaw 37.2 +0.7 40.0 12th 25.4 -0.1 21.9 5th 175.6 203.9 average 86%
Charles Point 33.3   35.9 2nd 26.6   23.4 22nd 98.8


Croker Island Airport 33.7   35.2 31st 26.4   22.3 3rd 200.8


Darwin Airport 33.9 +1.3 35.5 5th 25.9 +0.6 23.4 16th 182.4 253.5 average 72%
Delamere Weapons Range 37.1 +1.4 40.0 12th 24.7 +0.1 19.5 6th 69.8 174.2 low 40%
Douglas River Research Farm 35.4 +0.5 37.5 9th 23.7 -0.1 19.8 6th 286.8 215.5 high 133%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.2 +0.7 36.8 5th 26.1 0.0 23.2 18th 130.6 295.4 low 44%
Jabiru Airport 36.4 +1.4 38.7 10th 25.4 +0.5 23.0 3rd 107.2 226.9 v low 47%
Kangaroo Flats (Defence) 35.4   37.5 9th 24.6   22.5 17th 214.6


Katherine Country Club 36.5   39.0 12th 23.9   18.8 6th 165.8


McCluer Island 32.8 +0.8 34.8 2nd 27.8 +0.7 22.1 9th 166.4 196.1 average 85%
Middle Point 35.6 +0.8 37.7 6th 24.0 -0.2 21.9 30th 93.8 241.9 v low 39%
Mount Bundey North (Defence) 35.8   37.7 28th 24.8   21.0 14th 97.4


Mount Bundey South (Defence) 36.1   39.0 12th 24.5   22.0 14th 189.8


Murganella Airstrip 34.9   37.3 8th 23.9   22.4 3rd 231.0


Noonamah Airstrip 35.2   37.8 5th 24.8   22.6 23rd 192.6


Oenpelli Airport 36.3   38.6 2nd 25.0   23.2 3rd 212.0


Pirlangimpi Airport 34.0 +1.2 35.9 10th 24.6 -0.1 22.3 31st 369.4 350.7 average 105%
Point Fawcett 33.5 +1.0 35.0 31st 25.5 -0.1 22.1 21st 221.0 303.7 low 73%
Point Stuart 34.2   37.4 2nd 25.2   22.3 14th 202.6 221.3 average 92%
Port Keats Airport 34.0 +0.6 36.5 10th 25.1 -0.3 22.7 4th 267.0 211.1 average 126%
Tindal RAAF 36.2 +0.6 38.2 11th 24.1 -0.7 18.1 6th 93.4 215.0 low 43%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 36.2   37.4 25th 26.8   23.9 14th 21.0 128.2 low 16%
Gove Airport 34.9 +1.9 36.6 6th 24.8 +0.2 20.3 5th 25.2 178.9 v low 14%
Groote Eylandt Airport 35.0 +0.7 36.9 8th 24.1 -1.0 18.5 5th 60.6 185.8 v low 33%
Maningrida Airport 34.2 +0.9 36.6 4th 25.3 0.0 22.9 14th 87.6 159.7 low 55%
Milingimbi Airport 34.8 +1.1 37.4 5th 26.2 +0.2 23.9 5th 59.8 148.8 low 40%
Ngayawili 33.8 +1.0 35.2 30th 26.5 +0.8 21.5 5th 59.6 230.5 low 26%
Warruwi Airport 34.0 +0.8 36.2 12th 26.6 +0.4 24.3 26th 64.8 193.7 low 33%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 38.5 +2.2 40.6 30th 24.5 -0.7 18.2 5th 35.0 137.0 low 26%
Bulman 38.1 +1.1 39.7 31st 24.3 -0.5 18.9 5th 69.4 197.6 v low 35%
Centre Island 36.0 +1.4 37.4 12th 28.1 +0.8 24.8 3rd 15.0 133.0 v low 11%
Daly Waters Airstrip 39.2 +2.0 42.4 12th 22.8 -1.4 13.0 6th 69.4 117.8 average 59%
McArthur River Mine Airport 40.1 +2.5 42.5 10th 25.1 +0.1 17.0 5th 35.2 125.2 low 28%
Ngukurr Airport 40.0   42.7 31st 25.8   20.0 5th 71.4


Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 40.1 +2.1 44.5 13th 24.8 +0.6 18.1 5th 53.4 78.9 average 68%
Victoria River Downs 38.9 +1.2 42.9 11th 25.5 +0.4 17.8 6th 67.2 119.7 low 56%
Wave Hill 38.7 +0.7 43.0 13th 24.4 -0.2 18.0 6th 78.8 116.2 average 68%
Barkly (district 15A)
Elliott 38.6 +0.2 41.2 29th 24.2 -0.2 15.0 6th 0.4 105.4 v low 0%
Tennant Creek Airport 38.7 +1.6 42.0 27th 25.4 +0.6 20.2 6th 22.4 76.0 low 29%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 37.2 +1.8 43.6 24th 21.3 +1.0 10.9 5th 6.0 38.6 low 16%
Arltunga 36.2 +1.8 42.0 24th 20.3 -0.1 10.0 5th 27.0 42.2 average 64%
Curtin Springs 37.3 +1.0 44.1 24th 20.5 -0.1 12.7 5th 1.0 32.2 v low 3%
Jervois 39.3 +1.6 45.8 29th 23.5 +2.0 13.8 5th 12.6 40.3 low 31%
Rabbit Flat 40.0 +1.6 44.6 13th 23.7 0.0 16.3 5th 31.8 74.5 low 43%
Territory Grape Farm 37.4 +1.2 42.2 24th 21.1 -0.1 12.2 5th 49.6 57.8 average 86%
Walungurru Airport 40.2 +2.0 45.1 24th 25.4 +0.7 20.3 3rd 22.6 65.4 average 35%
Yulara Airport 37.2 +0.8 44.1 24th 20.9 +0.1 12.7 4th 19.0 45.5 average 42%

Notes

The Monthly 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 Tuesday 9 January 2018. 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