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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.

Wavelets on closed surfaces in Euclidean space R3 are introduced starting from a scale discrete wavelet transform for potentials harmonic down to a spherical boundary. Essential tools for approximation are integration formulas relating an integral over the sphere to suitable linear combinations of functional values (resp. normal derivatives) on the closed surface under consideration. A scale discrete version of multiresolution is described for potential functions harmonic outside the closed surface and regular at infinity. Furthermore, an exact fully discrete wavelet approximation is developed in case of band-limited wavelets. Finally, the role of wavelets is discussed in three problems, namely (i) the representation of a function on a closed surface from discretely given data, (ii) the (discrete) solution of the exterior Dirichlet problem, and (iii) the (discrete) solution of the exterior Neumann problem.

For the determination of the earth" s gravity field many types of observations are available nowadays, e.g., terrestrial gravimetry, airborne gravimetry, satellite-to-satellite tracking, satellite gradiometry etc. The mathematical connection between these observables on the one hand and gravity field and shape of the earth on the other hand, is called the integrated concept of physical geodesy. In this paper harmonic wavelets are introduced by which the gravitational part of the gravity field can be approximated progressively better and better, reflecting an increasing flow of observations. An integrated concept of physical geodesy in terms of harmonic wavelets is presented. Essential tools for approximation are integration formulas relating an integral over an internal sphere to suitable linear combinations of observation functionals, i.e., linear functionals representing the geodetic observables. A scale discrete version of multiresolution is described for approximating the gravitational potential outside and on the earth" s surface. Furthermore, an exact fully discrete wavelet approximation is developed for the case of band-limited wavelets. A method for combined global outer harmonic and local harmonic wavelet modelling is proposed corresponding to realistic earth" s models. As examples, the role of wavelets is discussed for the classical Stokes problem, the oblique derivative problem, satellite-to-satellite tracking, satellite gravity gradiometry, and combined satellite-to-satellite tracking and gradiometry.