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spectral analysis

  A technique for examining the oscillations and patterns in a time series by calculating the relative importance of different wavelengths, periodicities or \'frequency bands\' (just as a prism analyses light in terms of colours of the spectrum). The method is an extension of classical Fourier analysis: it does not analyse in terms of exact periodic waves (e.g. 12 months or 2.5 years), but uses frequency bands of specified width (e.g. 11-13 months and 2.25-2.75 years). This is more appropriate for socio-economic fluctuations, which are not exactly periodic. Major applications in human geography have been to regional cycles and lead-lag models of regional and urban unemployment, and to the geography of epidemics such as measles. Cross-spectral analysis between two or more time series allows the calculation of different correlation and regression coefficients for each frequency band. Spectral analysis can also be applied to transects across space and to two-dimensional patterns, although examples are rare in human geography. (LWH)

Suggested Reading Bennett, R.J. 1979: Spatial time series. London: Pion.



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