A general, degenerate perturbation theoretic treatment of the helioseismic forward and inverse problem for solar differential rotation is presented. For the forward problem, differential rotation is represented as the axisymmetric component of a general toroidal flow field using velocity spherical harmonics. This approach allows each degree of differential rotation to be estimated independently from all other degrees. In the inverse problem, the splitting caused by differential rotation is expressed as an expansion in a set of orthonormal polynomials that are intimately related to the solution of the forward problem. The combined use of vector spherical harmonics as basis functions for differential ratio and the Clebsch-Gordon coefficients to represent splitting provides a unified approach to the forward and inverse problems of differential rotation which greatly simplify inversion.
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