TEMPO takes advantage of a GEO host spacecraft to provide a modest cost mission that measures the spectra required to retrieve O3, NO2, SO2, H2CO, C2H2O2, H2O, aerosols, cloud parameters, and UVB radiation. TEMPO thus measures the major elements, directly or by proxy, in the tropospheric O3 chemistry cycle. Multi-spectral observations provide sensitivity to O3 in the lowermost troposphere, reducing uncertainty in air quality predictions by 50%. TEMPO quantifies and tracks the evolution of aerosol loading. It provides near-real-time air quality products that will be made widely, publicly available.
TEMPO makes the first tropospheric trace gas measurements from GEO, by building on the heritage of five spectrometers flown in low-earth-orbit (LEO). These LEO instruments measure the needed spectra, although at coarse spatial and temporal resolutions, to the precisions required for TEMPO and use retrieval algorithms developed for them by TEMPO Science Team members and currently running in operational environments. This makes TEMPO an innovative use of a well proven technique, able to produce a revolutionary data set.
TEMPO provides much of the atmospheric measurement capability recommended for GEO-CAPE in the 2007 National Research Council Decadal Survey, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond. GEO-CAPE is not planned for implementation this decade. However, instruments from Europe (Sentinel 4) and Asia (GEMS) will form parts of a global GEO constellation for pollution monitoring later this decade, with a major focus on intercontinental pollution transport. TEMPO will launch at a prime time to be a component of this constellation.