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Wavelet transform originated in 1980's for the analysis of seismic signals has seen an explosion of applications in geophysics. However, almost all of the material is based on wavelets over Euclidean spaces. This paper deals with the generalization of the theory and algorithmic aspects of wavelets to a spherical earth's model and geophysically relevant vector fields such as the gravitational, magnetic, elastic field of the earth.A scale discrete wavelet approach is considered on the sphere thereby avoiding any type of tensor-valued 'basis (kernel) function'. The generators of the vector wavelets used for the fast evaluation are assumed to have compact supports. Thus the scale and detail spaces are finite-dimensional. As an important consequence, detail information of the vector field under consideration can be obtained only by a finite number of wavelet coefficients for each scale. Using integration formulas that are exact up to a prescribed polynomial degree, wavelet decomposition and reconstruction are investigated for bandlimited vector fields. A pyramid scheme for the recursive computation of the wavelet coefficients from level to level is described in detail. Finally, data compression is discussed for the EGM96 model of the earth's gravitational field.

A multiscale method is introduced using spherical (vector) wavelets for the computation of the earth's magnetic field within source regions of ionospheric and magnetospheric currents. The considerations are essentially based on two geomathematical keystones, namely (i) the Mie representation of solenoidal vector fields in terms of toroidal and poloidal parts and (ii) the Helmholtz decomposition of spherical (tangential) vector fields. Vector wavelets are shown to provide adequate tools for multiscale geomagnetic modelling in form of a multiresolution analysis, thereby completely circumventing the numerical obstacles caused by vector spherical harmonics. The applicability and efficiency of the multiresolution technique is tested with real satellite data.