Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Escape to the Central Arctic

Join the MOSAiC expedition virtually with new immersive online learning experience


Your computer is now a portal to the North Pole. Explore one of the most remote, mysterious regions on Earth from the comfort of your own home with a new massive open online course (MOOC) featuring short lectures by researchers about their work, stunning footage from an Arctic icebreaker, 360 videos and more.

Frozen in the Ice: Exploring the Arctic is produced by the CIRES Education & Outreach Program and funded by the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Science Foundation in partnership with the Alfred Wegener Institute. The MOOC highlights the science and journey of the epic MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) research expedition. View for free on the online learning platform Coursera

“Keeping with the spirit of the MOSAiC expedition, creating this course was truly an international and collaborative effort,” said Lynne Harden, education and outreach associate at CU Boulder and MOSAiC MOOC co-coordinator. “It is a culmination of many hours of filming, editing, field research, and more, all wrapped into an engaging package that anyone can enjoy from the comfort of their own couch.” 

The course features 50 videos from almost 40 different speakers that cover all aspects of the science of MOSAiC and a changing Arctic environment and its impact on global shipping routes, the wellbeing of Arctic Indigenous Peoples, Arctic wildlife like polar bears, and much more. Dive into the icy waters via cameras placed on water samplers, fly through the frigid skies on research helicopters, and watch engaging lectures from dozens of MOSAiC scientists—some of which were filmed on icebreakers steaming through the Arctic Ocean.   

Since fall 2019, the icebreaker RV Polarstern has been frozen into the Arctic ice, it will drift with the floe for an entire year. Over 500 scientists from 20 countries are participating, spending months at a time in the remote Arctic deploying instruments, taking measurements and observing the ecosystem. 

Scientists have worked for over a decade to envision and plan their MOSAiC research programs and data collection. In their lectures, they share in short, 10 minute videos about the core of their work. 

“I was on Leg 1 of the MOSAiC expedition. On the ship I was immersed in the high Arctic during the transition to polar night: polar bears that came right up to the ship, and we worked on the sea ice with thousands of meters of Arctic Ocean right below our feet and temperatures down to below -20 degrees C,” said Anne Gold, director of CIRES’ Education & Outreach Program. “It’s amazing that now everyone can get a taste of what I experienced.” 


CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and CU Boulder.