A new generation of UV/vis/near‐IR satellite instruments like GOME (since 1995), SCIAMACHY (since 2002), OMI (since 2004), and GOME‐2 (since 2006) allows to measure several important stratospheric and tropospheric trace gases like O3,NO2, OClO, HCHO, SO2, BrO, and H2O as well as clouds and aerosols from space. Because of its extended spectral range, the SCIAMACHY instrument also allows the retrieval of Greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4) and CO in the near IR. Almost all of the tropospheric trace gases are observed by these instruments for the first time. From satellite data it is possible to investigate the temporal and spatial variation. Also different sources can be characterised and quantified. The derived global distributions can serve as input and for the validation of atmospheric models. Here we give an overview on the current status of these new instruments and data products and their recent applications to various atmospheric and oceanic phenomena.

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