Welcome to NASA's Ozone and Air Quality site

NASA's Ozone and Air Quality site provides data and results from Backscattering Ultraviolet (BUV) satellite sensors.

These sensors are used to measure and monitor atmospheric trace gases (such as ozone, SO2, and NO2), aerosols, surface reflectance, and cloud pressure.

Over 30 years ago, the first BUV instruments provided measurements that were integral to the discovery that man-made CFCs being released into the atmosphere destroyed stratospheric ozone through a previously unrecognized catalytic reaction. In recognition of the importance of understanding such atmospheric perturbations, Congress directed NASA in June 1975 to "develop and carry out a comprehensive program of research, technology, and monitoring of the phenomena of the upper atmosphere so as to provide for an understanding of and to maintain the chemical and physical integrity of the Earth's upper atmosphere." The BUV series of measurements were designed to help carry out this responsibility.

More recently, scientists at institutions including NASA and NOAA have developed the capability to measure other trace gases and UV absorbing aerosols from BUV sensors, helping us to determine, and predict, air quality in the atmospheric layer closest to the surface, the troposphere.

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Trace Gases

  • OMI - Ozone Monitoring Instrument
  • OMPS - Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite
  • TOMS - Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer