Ian Roulstone

Ian Roulstone

Head of Department of Mathematics



Professor Ian Roulstone took over as Head of Department of Mathematics on 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 work with:

and I have active research interests in the applications of differential geometry to fluid mechanics: http://www.claymath.org/events/geometry-and-fluids

Further details can be found on my personal web page.


MAT3013 Mathematics of Weather

Departmental duties

Head of Department


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 - 2015

Fellow of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications --- Research Committee 2015 - present


Ian also contributes to The Huffington Post, and some of his articles can be found here http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ian-roulstone/.


Media Contacts

Contact the press team



Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380 / 688914 / 684378
Out-of-hours: +44 (0)7773 479911
Senate House, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

My publications


Recent Publications

  • Roulstone I, Sewell MJComplex contact and lift transformationsJournal of Geometry and Physics 65:55-65 01 Mar 2013
  • ​Fairbairn D, Pring SR, Lorenc AC, Roulstone IA comparison of 4DVar with ensemble data assimilation methodsQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 2013
  • Roulstone I, Norbury JComputing Superstorm SandyScientific American 309(2):22-22 Aug 2013
  • Wakeling M, Eyre J, Hughes S, Roulstone IAssimilation of vertical motion from simulated cloudy satellite imagery in an idealized single column modelQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 2014
  • Roulstone I, White AA, Clough SAGeometric invariants of the horizontal velocity gradient tensor and their dynamics in shallow water flowQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 140(685):2527-2534 01 Oct 2014
  • Chuter AM, Aston PJ, Skeldon AC, Roulstone IA dynamical systems analysis of the data assimilation linked ecosystem carbon (DALEC) modelsChaos 25(3) 24 Nov 2014
  • Wakeling M, Eyre J, Hughes S, Roulstone IAssimilation of Vertical Motion from Simulated Cloudy Satellite Imagery in an Idealized Single Column Model< br/> Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 10.1002/qj.2427 1 April 2015
  • Banos B, Roubstov V, Roulstone IMonge-Ampere Structures and the Geometry of Incompressible FlowsJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical 10.1088/1751-8113/49/24/244003 11 May 2016
  • Roulstone I, White AASemi-Geostrophic Time Evolution of Velocity Gradient Tensor InvariantsQuarterly Journal of the Royal Mathematical Society 10.1002/qj.2841 30 June 2016
  • Prentice IC, Cleator SF, Huang YF, Harrison SP, Roulstone IReconstructing ice-age paleoclimates: quantifying CO2 effects on plantsGlobal and Planetary Change 1872-6364 13 July 2017
  • Books

    Roulstone I, Norbury JInvisible in the Storm: the role of mathematics in understanding weather346 pages. Princeton University Press, USA 24 Feb 2013 http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9957.html

    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.