Carbon Monoxide: one of the most important air pollutants

The role of SRON Earth in carbon monoxide research

General info

In 2017 the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, carrying the instrument Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) as its only payload. TROPOMI is developed by a Dutch consortium including SRON. One of its primary products is the measurement of atmospheric carbon monoxide (CO) using SRON’s operational software. It offers daily global coverage with a spatial resolution of 7×5.5 km2.  SRON will also be involved in the operational processing of CO data from the upcoming Sentinel-5 mission.

In the decade before, from 2003 to 2012, it was the SCIAMACHY instrument that first measured atmospheric CO concentrations. SCIAMACHY was developed by a German/Dutch/Belgian consortium including SRON, and was one of ten instruments onboard ESA’s Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT). With a 2.3 mu spectral range it was sensitive to CO in the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface.



  • projects

    ESA Living Planet Fellowship on Fires

    Landscape fires, whether natural or man-made, have a key impact on the Earth system via the release of pollutants, greenhouse gases and aerosols, affecting not only climate but also human health.

Meet our partners


We collaborate with climate researchers and modelers, and together contribute to the development of physical instruments and the promotion of scientific activities outside SRON.

  • Bram Maasakkers

  • Ilse Aben

    Senior Scientist
  • Jochen Landgraf

    Senior Scientist

Our other research themes

  • Methane

    • Responsible for ¼ of human-made greenhouse effect

    • About 30 times more powerful than CO₂ (GWP-100)

    • Large emissions from fossil fuel industry, landfills, livestock

  • CO₂

    • Most important human-made greenhouse gas

    • Hard to monitor emissions because of long lifetime

  • Aerosols

    • Small particles in the atmosphere

    • Largest unknown factor in climate change

    • Strong impact on air quality

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