Mauritzen is a physical oceanographer by training, a specialist on large-scale ocean circulation and state changes in the deep ocean. She obtained her MSc from the University of Bergen in 1987 and her PhD from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program in Oceanography in 1994. For most of her career she has worked as an active oceanographer, exploring the Atlantic Ocean from the equator to the Arctic to infer ocean circulation. She has also been working with modern autonomous platforms such as profiling floats and gliders to observe the ocean in remote areas, and using these data in operational forecasts of sea ice and ocean currents. Synthesis of large datasets has been her forte throughout.
She has worked as oceanographer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (1993-1995), at the French Navy Hydrographic Service (1996-1998), at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1998-2002), at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (2002-2012). Her interests broadened towards the full climate system – working on the Earth’s energy budget and state changes in the deep ocean – when she became part of IPCC WG1 in 2004: She was lead author in Chapter 1 in AR4 (2007) and in Chapter 3 in AR5 (2013). In 2012 she became director of CICERO, a private, interdisciplinary climate research institute in Oslo, a brain child of our previous prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland who coined the phrase “sustainable development” in the UN report “Our common future”.
Realizing the importance of industry being “part of the solution”, she joined DNV GL (Det norske Veritas – Germanischer Lloyds) in 2014 to head up a research think-tank on the “Low Carbon Future”, focussing on energy transformation. To enable engineers, military strategists, philosophers, natural scientists and economists to work together, she employed system dynamics modelling as a very successful common tool.
But the oceans called her back, and she could not reject an invitation to head the research program of a balsa raft expedition from South America to Easter Island in 2015. The expedition coincided with the climate summit in Paris, inspiring her to write the “Ocean’s speech at COP21” (http://www.kontiki2.com/science#2015-12-02-what-the-ocean-would-have-said). After returning from the Kon Tiki 2 Expedition she joined the Norwegian Research Institute for Water (NIVA) as Chief Scientist for Water & Climate.
Mauritzen is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research and the Norwegian Board of Technology. She has frequently acted as advisor for graduate students at the University of Oslo.