Hot and soggy 2017 for the NT

Tropical storms: A typical tropical storm rolls across the north of Katherine yesterday.
Tropical storms: A typical tropical storm rolls across the north of Katherine yesterday.

The Northern Territory had another warm year in 2017 - its fifth-warmest year for maximum temperatures with a record warm dry season.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its Annual Climate Statement, showing 2017 continued the trend of warmer than average temperatures across Australia, and the country received slightly above-average rainfall.

The Annual Climate Statement is the official Bureau summary of the previous year, including temperature, rainfall and significant weather.

The Bureau's Head of Climate Monitoring, Dr Karl Braganza, said with a national mean temperature 0.95 °C warmer than the 1961–1990 average, 2017 was Australia's third-warmest year on record.

"Despite the lack of an El Niño—which is normally associated with our hottest years—2017 was still characterised by very warm temperatures. Both day and night-time temperatures were warmer than average; particularly maximum temperatures, which were the second-warmest on record.

"Seven of Australia's ten warmest years have occurred since 2005 and Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year—2011—in the past decade," he said.

And it wasn't just on land that the mercury was elevated, with oceans around Australia recording temperatures well above average for the year and prolonged high sea surface temperatures being associated with significant coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef during early 2017.

Most of the NT had above average rainfall for the year, with January and November particularly wet.

Katherine Country Club recorded 1451mm for the year, while the council measured 1155mm and Tindal 1280mm.

Averaged across the Northern Territory, total annual rainfall was 19% above average following several wet months through the year

A low pressure system situated south of the Top End resulted in heavy rainfalls during January, with the Territory's overall monthly total almost double the long-term average for January

During the first few months of the year, some sites in the top end and southern top end had their highest daily rainfall on record

July was record wet through the central districts as a deep trough and associated cloudband produced thunderstorms and showers

November was the wettest November since 2011 and the ninth-wettest on record

Labelle Downs to the southwest of Darwin had a very wet year with record monthly rainfall totals in January, February and November

In contrast to the wetter than average conditions overall, most of the Territory received no rainfall at all in August, which is unusual, even though August is usually the driest month

A record warm dry season contributes to a warm year overall

The Northern Territory's mean maximum temperature was 1.07 °C above average, the fifth-warmest year since comparable records began in 1910

The mean minimum temperature was 0.33 °C above average

Overall, the mean temperature (average of the maximum and minimum) was 0.70 °C above average: cooler than 2016 and well short of the record from 2013

July was the warmest on record in the Northern Territory for both mean temperature and mean maximum temperature, contributing to the warmest dry season on record in terms of maximum temperature

Southern parts of the Territory, including Alice Springs, also experienced some of the exceptional September heat that affected much of eastern Australia

A few sites in the Top End had their warmest night (highest daily minimum temperature) on record during October, though the record at these sites is short

The end of the year was warmer than usual, with December's mean daily maximum temperature the tenth-warmest on record

There was some cool weather during the year, with some sites observing their coldest day (lowest maximum temperature) for any time of the year due to rain falling into cool, dry southeast winds across the southern Territory on April 11.

Total rainfall for Darwin Airport was 2200.8 mm, which is 127% of the long-term average of 1728.8 mm, and ninth-wettest on record 

Tropical cyclone Alfred formed on February 20 and was the first tropical cyclone in the northern region since Nathan in March 2015

Tropical cyclone Alfred generated a wind gust of 113 km/h at Centre Island, the strongest wind gust of the year, as well as very heavy rainfall with Centre Island recording 461.2 mm between 19 and 21 February  

Tropical cyclone Blanche in March was the only system to make landfall, whilst tropical cyclone Frances formed over the Timor Sea in late April but had little impact on the Territory

A neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation was experienced for most of the year, but the tropical Pacific Ocean cooled steadily from mid-winter and La Niña was declared at the start of December

A positive Southern Annual Mode and strong subtropical ridge during winter, bringing clear skies, frosty nights, and below average winter rainfall

Exceptional warmth which affected large parts of New South Wales and Queensland through January and into February, with records set in southeastern Australia and southern Queensland

Tropical lows which caused flooding in the Northern Territory and northern and southwestern Western Australia in January and February

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