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In the Arctic Ocean, it is still unclear what role oceanic transport plays in the fate of semivolatile organic compounds. The strong-stratified Arctic Ocean undergoes complex inputs and outputs of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the neighboring oceans and continents. To better understand PAHs’ transport processes and their contribution to high-latitude oceans, surface seawater, and water column, samples were collected from the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean in 2012. The spatial distribution of dissolved PAHs (∑9PAH) in surface seawater showed an “Arctic Shelf > Atlantic Ocean > Arctic Basin” pattern, with a range of 0.3–10.2 ng L−1. Positive matrix factorization modeling results suggested that vehicle emissions and biomass combustion were the major PAHs sources in the surface seawater. According to principal component analysis, PAHs in different water masses showed unique profiles indicating their different origins. Carried by the Norwegian Atlantic Current (0–800 m) and East Greenland Current (0–300 m), PAH individuals’ net transport mass fluxes ranged from −4.4 ± 1.7 to 53 ± 39 tons year−1 to the Arctic Ocean. We suggested the limited contribution of ocean currents on PAHs’ delivery to the Arctic Ocean, but their role in modulating PAHs’ air–sea interactions and other biogeochemical processes needs further studies.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans