Bureau measures its hottest dry on record
IT HAS been a waiting game for farmers in the Territory for decent rainfall after northern Australia sweltered through its hottest dry season on record this year.
In its weekly tropical climate note that wrapped up the May to September dry season, Bureau of Meteorology forecasters said the 2017 dry was "characterised by record warm daytime temperatures and below-average rainfall”.
The bureau's Greg Browning said overall the record hot conditions were a "typical” sign of global warming that had been recorded globally in recent years.
"The conditions we have just experienced through the dry would normally be associated with an El Nino event, but there was no sign of that this dry,” Mr Browning said.
Across northern Australia - a line that passes through the Northern Territory/South Australia border - the mean daily maximum temperature was two degrees above average for the period.
Mr Browning said that was the highest in 108 years of records and well above the previous record of 1.52 degrees set in 2013.
"One of the more interesting statistics from the record dry was created in Darwin,” Mr Browning said.
"Nil rainfall was recorded in Darwin for the period. That is the first time that has happened since rainfall records began in 1941.
"Alice Springs also recorded its warmest daytime temperatures for the period on record.”
That lack of rain will potentially bring a frown to the faces of farmers right across the Territory.
However, Mr Browning did offer some hope to those on the land.
"While the temperatures look likely to stay well above average during the build-up, indications at this stage are that rainfall will at least be average across the north,” he said.
Mr Browning said the average rainfall for October was about 70mm and he expected it to "pick up” a bit after that.
"But we don't really expect anything out of the ordinary as far as rainfall goes until the first monsoon arrives.”
Mr Browning said to expect that to occur in late December, unless a La Nina pattern develops.
"But that would only bring the monsoon on a couple of weeks early and generally a La Nina would not form this late in the year, although it is not unheard of.
"It really will be a wait and see as to what the patterns bring in terms of rainfall.”
The bureau's climate note also said in all months of the 2017 dry season, daytime temperatures were at least one degree above the long-term average and some ranked in their respective top-10 for northern Australia.
"These include: the warmest July (3.02 degrees above the July average), third-warmest August, fourth-warmest September and sixth-warmest May on record.
"Additionally, the mean temperature (average of the maximum and minimum) in July also ranked as highest on record for July, with a monthly mean temperature anomaly of 2.41 degrees.
"The significant heat was largely from the daytime temperatures, with the mean minimum temperature averaged across northern Australia during the dry season marginally above the long-term average.”