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The North Pacific-Arctic Oceans are important compartments for semi-volatile organic compounds’ (SVOCs) global marine inventory, but whether they act as a “source" or "sink” remains controversial. To study the air-sea exchange and fate of SVOCs during their poleward long-range transport, low-altitude atmosphere and surface seawater were measured for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by passive sampling from July to September in 2014. Gaseous PAH concentrations (0.67–13 ng m−3) were dominated by phenanthrene (Phe) and fluorene (Flu), which displayed an inverse correlation with latitude, as well as a significant linear relationship with partial pressure and inverse temperature. Concentrations of PAHs in seawater (1.8–16 ng L−1) showed regional characteristics, with higher levels near the East Asia and lower values in the Bering Strait. The potential impact from the East Asian monsoon was suggested for gaseous PAHs, which – similar to PAHs in surface seawater - were derived from combustion sources. In addition, the data implied net volatilization of PAHs from seawater into the air along the entire cruise; fluxes displayed a similar pattern to regional and monthly distribution of PAHs in seawater. Our results further emphasized that air-sea exchange is an important process for PAHs in the open marine environments.