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As a first approximation the Earth is a sphere; as a second approximation it may be considered an ellipsoid of revolution. The deviations of the actual Earth's gravity field from the ellipsoidal 'normal' field are so small that they can be understood to be linear. The splitting of the Earth's gravity field into a 'normal' and a remaining small 'disturbing' field considerably simplifies the problem of its determination. Under the assumption of an ellipsoidal Earth model high observational accuracy is achievable only if the deviation (deflection of the vertical) of the physical plumb line, to which measurements refer, from the ellipsoidal normal is not ignored. Hence, the determination of the disturbing potential from known deflections of the vertical is a central problem of physical geodesy. In this paper we propose a new, well-promising method for modelling the disturbing potential locally from the deflections of the vertical. Essential tools are integral formulae on the sphere based on Green's function of the Beltrami operator. The determination of the disturbing potential from deflections of the vertical is formulated as a multiscale procedure involving scale-dependent regularized versions of the surface gradient of the Green function. The modelling process is based on a multiscale framework by use of locally supported surface curl-free vector wavelets.

This paper deals with the problem of determining the sea surface topography from geostrophic flow of ocean currents on local domains of the spherical Earth. In mathematical context the problem amounts to the solution of a spherical differential equation relating the surface curl gradient of a scalar field (sea surface topography) to a surface divergence-free vector field(geostrophic ocean flow). At first, a continuous solution theory is presented in the framework of an integral formula involving Green’s function of the spherical Beltrami operator. Different criteria derived from spherical vector analysis are given to investigate uniqueness. Second, for practical applications Green’s function is replaced by a regularized counterpart. The solution is obtained by a convolution of the flow field with a scaled version of the regularized Green function. Calculating locally without boundary correction would lead to errors near the boundary. To avoid these Gibbs phenomenona we additionally consider the boundary integral of the corresponding region on the sphere which occurs in the integral formula of the solution. For reasons of simplicity we discuss a spherical cap first, that means we consider a continuously differentiable (regular) boundary curve. In a second step we concentrate on a more complicated domain with a non continuously differentiable boundary curve, namely a rectangular region. It will turn out that the boundary integral provides a major part for stabilizing and reconstructing the approximation of the solution in our multiscale procedure.