Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the busiest airport globally, with a combined capacity of 250 departure and arrival flights every hour. The flight capacity is largely dependent on the weather conditions surrounding the airport. Poor weather conditions can reduce visibility, resulting in flight delays. This research analyzed flight patterns and selected weather types most associated with extreme weather delays at ATL from 2004–2019. Using data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Iowa State University (METAR), this research used linear regression, Mann-Kendall, Pearson Correlation, and Spearman Rank Correlation to assess the patterns of and relationships among total departures, total delays, and extreme delays, and METAR weather codes. Results showed domestic departures, delays, and extreme weather delays significantly decreased during the study period. Mist had the most significant positive relationship with extreme weather delays, indicating it may be one of the greatest weather threats that results in delayed flights. Rain occurrence increased, as measured by the numbers of hours it was recorded and had a negative relationship with extreme weather delays; however, when occurring with thunderstorms, the relationship with extreme weather delays was positive. Future work could include more airports and a larger variety of weather events to maximize savings in both time and money across the country. Helping airlines make better decisions regarding flight delays could potentially encourage a restructuring of daily flight patterns.

Committee Chair

Keim, Barry



Available for download on Wednesday, May 24, 2028