Heart disease diagnostic technology reveals ‘hidden patterns of climate change’

The human heart has once again provided the inspiration for green innovation, this time with the use of heart disease diagnostic technology to 'measure the pulse of planet Earth', revealing 'hidden patterns of climate change'.

An international research team, led by the University of Leicester, have used multi-scale entrophy analysis to “literally take the pulse of the planet”. This statistical method has not been used to study climate change before, according to the researchers.

Professor Heiko Balzter of University of Leicester and lead author of the study said: “I had the idea to apply a new method to the climate data. It has been applied a lot to diagnose heart disease, because it is good at detecting regularity and randomness in time-series data.”

Loss of regularity

The study has shown subtle changes in the ‘regularity’ of the temperature data that some scientific data analysis methods overlook. When temperatures are measured for longer than 12 months, there is a marked loss of ‘regularity’ in the last 54 years, compared to the period 1850-1960.

The researchers say this loss of regularity may be a sign of climate change influencing European temperatures.

Multi-scale entropy analysis works by pattern matching and searches data for repetitive small chunks – or pattern templates – that appear over and over again. If many of these chunks are found, then the data has low entropy and high regularity. If few are found, the entropy is high and the system is harder to predict.


Balzter explained: “Imagine you roll a dice and write down the series of numbers it lands on. You expect these to be random. Say you roll a one, six, and five. If the system has low entropy then we would expect other chunks of rolling one followed by six to have a higher probability of being followed by a five. We have applied just that same method to European temperature data.”

This is the second time in two days that edie has reported on the human heart providing a solution to environmental issues. Yesterday, a European sustainability consortium unveiled HIWave – a Wave Energy Converter based on the pumping principles of a human heart – which can deliver five times higher wave energy absorption than previously developed wave power technologies.

Lucinda Dann

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