The dataset includes spectral absorption coefficients of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), 'particulate matter and non-algal particles in seawater. Samples were collected in May 2021 as part of cruise 2021704, Q2, in the northern Barents Sea as part of the Nansen Legacy project. Sea water was sampled using Niskin bottles attached to a rosette onboard R/V Kronprins Haakon. CDOM samples were filtered through a 0.22 μm cartridge filter, and measured on a 1 m liquid waveguide capillary cell (LWCC). Particulate absorption measured on 0.7 μm pore size GFF filters (25 mm diameter, nominally 1 liter filtered volume), and measured on a Lambda 950 UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometer and QFT-ICAM absorption meter. Non-algal particle absorption is measured after bleaching the filters using H2O2.