Professor Ian Roulstone


Qualifications: B.Sc. (Hons) (London); D.Phil. (Oxford)

Phone: Work: 01483 68 9638
Room no: 28 AA 04

Further information


Professor Ian Roulstone will be taking over as Head of Department of Mathematics from 1st March 2015.

Ian obtained his first degree in theoretical physics from the University of London, and his DPhil in mathematical physics from Oxford University. Ian spent the years 1989-2003 as a scientist at the UK Meteorological Office, and during his last five years with the Office he led the Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology -- a partnership between the Met Office and the University of Reading. In 2004, Ian came to Surrey, and he continues his collaboration with the Met Office through joint studentships and other research programmes.

Ian has two main areas of interest when it comes to research: data assimilation for weather and climate prediction, and theoretical fluid mechanics. Surrey provides an ideal environment for pursuing these quite different subjects: the Surrey Space Centre, EnFlo, and the Centre for Environmental Strategy, are all excellent partners for research on Earth observation and environmental modelling. The Department of Mathematics hosts excellent research groups with expertise in fluid mechanics, dynamical systems and differential geometry, and the fusion of ideas from these areas is one of Ian's passions.

Having been supervised for his DPhil by Roger Penrose and Andrew Hodges, something rubbed off in terms of writing about science, and in 2013 Ian published, with his co-author John Norbury, Invisible in the Storm: the role of mathematics in understanding weather (Princeton UP). Ian and John were recipients of the American Meteorological Society's Louis J Battan Author's Award this year.

In taking over as Head of Department, Ian will draw on his leadership and networking roles in the Met Office to help the Department face the challenges that lie ahead, especially in the UK's rapidly changing and increasingly competitive research environment. He is looking forward to generating new research agendas in collaboration with other departments at Surrey, and Ian is particularly keen to promote new ventures with the National Physical Laboratory.

Research Interests

My research interests are geometrical fluid mechanics and data assimilation. Further details can be found on my personal web page.

Research Collaborations

I am co-Theme Leader for Data Assimilation in the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO). This new centre, established and funded by NERC in 2008 (£37m over 5 years), has overall responsibility for NERC's suite of Earth observation centres of excellence. I collaborate on various projects, involving stochastic systems, control theory and variational techniques, with colleagues from Bristol, Oxford, Reading and Warwick. In January 2005 the EPSRC awarded a £734k four-year grant for research in Variational Inference in Stochastic Dynamic Environmental Models (VISDEM), which involved fellow Principal Investigators at Aston University and University College London, and colleagues at the Met Office. 

Further details can be found on my personal web page.



  • Gibbon, J.D., Holm, D.D., Kerr, R.M. and Roulstone, I. Quaternions and particle dynamics in the Euler fluid equations. Nonlinearity, 19, 1969-1983, June 2006.
  • Wlasak, M., Nichols, N.K. and Roulstone, I. Use of potential vorticity for incremental data assimilation. Quart. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 132, 2867-2886 October 2006
  • Watkinson, L.R., Lawless, A.S., Nichols, N.K., and Roulstone, I. Weak constraints in four-dimensional variational data assimilation. Met. Zeits. 16, 767-776 December 2007
  • Roulstone, I., Banos, B., Gibbon, J.D. and Roubtsov, V.N.  A geometric
    interpretation of coherent structures in Navier-Stokes Flows. Proc. R. Soc. Lond., A 465,
    2015-21, 2009
  • Roulstone, I., Banos, B., Gibbon, J.D. and Roubtsov, V.N.  Kaehler geometry
    and Burgers’ vortices. Zb. Pr. Inst. Mat. NAN Ukr, T.6, No. 2, 303-21, in honour of
    the 60th birthday of I. S. Krasil’schik, 2009
  • Delahaies, S.B. and Roulstone, I. Hyper-Kaehler geometry and semi-geostrophic theory. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 466, 195-211, 2009.
  • Rudd, A.C., Roulstone, I. and Eyre, J.R. A simple column model to explore anticipated problems in variational
    assimilation of satellite observations. To appear in Environmental Science and Software 2011

J. Norbury and I. Roulstone (Eds.) Large-scale atmosphere-ocean dynamics: Vol. 1 Analytical methods and numerical models; Vol.2 Geometric methods and models. 734pp., Cambridge University Press. August 2002.

"Invisible in the Storm: the role of mathematics in understanding weather", by Ian Roulstone and John Norbury, to be published by Princeton University Press, 2011. Pre-order available via Amazon

A full list of publications, conference presentations, and patents can be found here.


L2 MAT2007 Ordinary Differential Equations

Departmental Duties

Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions

Department Management Committee


Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society --- Council 2003-06; co-Editor-in-Chief of Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Oct 2003-Mar 2008. Chair, Publications Committee, October 2006-September 2008.
Member of the London Mathematical Society --- Council 2002-03, Programme Committee 2010 - present

Page Owner: mas1ir
Page Created: Wednesday 1 July 2009 13:33:04 by editor2
Last Modified: Monday 23 February 2015 10:57:55 by pg0016
Assembly date: Sat Feb 28 01:44:10 GMT 2015
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