Air Quality: Carbon Monoxide (CO) Satellite Measurements

Average monthly density of carbon monoxide (CO) in the total atmospheric column

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The TROPOMI L3 data are from the Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5p) mission, a low Earth orbit polar satellite system with the objective to provide information and services on air quality, climate and the ozone layer. The S5p mission is part of the Global Monitoring of the Environment and Security (GMES/COPERNICUS) space component program headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). The S5p mission includes the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), which makes daily global observations at a 7 x 3.5 km resolution of key atmospheric constituents. This data layer contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data, in which all data from the most recent 30-day period has been averaged.

The TROPOMI data include satellite measurements for carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), ozone (O₃), and Absorbing Aerosol Index (AAI).

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be harmful when inhaled in large amounts. CO is released when something is burned. The greatest sources of CO to outdoor air are cars, trucks and other vehicles or machinery that burn fossil fuels. Breathing air with a high concentration of CO reduces the amount of oxygen that can be transported in the blood stream to critical organs like the heart and brain. At very high levels, which are possible indoors or in other enclosed environments, CO can cause dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness and death. Very high levels of CO are not likely to occur outdoors. However, when CO levels are elevated outdoors, they can be of particular concern for people with some types of heart disease. These people already have a reduced ability for getting oxygenated blood to their hearts in situations where the heart needs more oxygen than usual. They are especially vulnerable to the effects of CO when exercising or under increased stress. In these situations, short-term exposure to elevated CO may result in reduced oxygen to the heart accompanied by chest pain also known as angina. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the dataset. For access to the full dataset and additional information, see the Learn More link.

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Formal name

Sentinel 5 Precursor Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (S5P/TROPOMI) Offline (OFFL) Carbon Monoxide (CO) L3 Monthly Averages


Validation results found good agreement with a small mean bias of TROPOMI CO product versus on the ground measurements of 6.0 ppb for clear-sky, 6.2 ppb for cloudy-sky TROPOMI retrievals and 5.8 ppb for the combination of both. The mean relative difference between the TROPOMI CO and reference data over the entire ground-based networks is of the order of +6%. The mean relative difference may exceed 10% at stations with few co-locations. This falls well within the mission requirements (bias at most 15%). For a more in depth discussion of bias in different geographic regions, please see the TROPOMI product README files by following the Learn More Link for validation results.

Suggested citation

European Space Agency. 2018. ESA Sentinel-5P TROPOMI L3 products. Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).


Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI)
European Space Agency (ESA)
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)
Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC)
Science [&] Technology Corporation (S[&]T)
University of Bremen (Uni-Bremen)

Geographic coverage


Spatial resolution

3.5 km x 7 km

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