NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology JPL HOME EARTH SOLAR SYSTEM STARS & GALAXIES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BRING THE UNIVERSE TO YOU JPL Email News RSS Podcast Video
JPL Banner
Follow this link to skip to the main content

Chemical Clues

image of the atmosphere

The standard TES products consist of vertical volume mixing ratio (VMR) profiles for tropospheric ozone, water vapor, deuterated water, carbon monoxide, and methane, in addition to temperature and the associated error estimates, at a range of altitudes derived from each pressure level.

The range of concentrations for background and polluted areas is given in the table below.

Range of concentrations that need to be measured for species of interest
Range of concentration for background
Range of concentration for polluted regions
Ozone (O3) from ≤30 to ~60 parts per billion (ppb) from ≥60 to >100 ppb
Carbon Monoxide (CO) from ≤20 to ~125 ppb from 125 to >300 ppb
Methane (CH4) 1.5 to ~1.7 parts per million (ppm) ~1.7 to 2 ppm
Range of concentration
Water Vapor (H2O) from one to 10,000 ppm
Deuterated Water Vapor (HDO) change in δD (per million) ranges from -50 at sea level, to -800 in the upper troposphere. δD is a measure of the ratio of [HDO]/[H2O]
Atmospheric Temperature (TATM) from ~240 to ~290 K

Next: Ozone

Back: What is TES?

After the sun warms the Earth, the planet radiates that energy back into space in a range of infrared wavelengths. But before reaching space, the energy passes through the atmosphere, where various gases absorb and re-radiate portions of it — in effect stamping the energy with their own spectral signatures. From its vantage point in orbit, TES measures radiation coming out of the top of Earth’s atmosphere in a range that includes the signature wavelengths of ozone, carbon monoxide, water vapor, and methane. Those data enables scientists to deduce valuable information about global warming and climate change, Earth’s water cycle, and air pollution on a local, regional, and global scale.

Chemical Clues Ozone Global Climate Change Global Water Cycle Biomass Burning Air Pollution What Is TES Detecting Altitudes Nadir and Limb Views Validation