TEMPO's scientific goals and objectives are strongly focused to provide data for answering key air quality and climate-related questions. The mission's science questions flow from the NASA 2010 Science Plan and the 2007 National Research Council Decadal Survey recommendations for Earth Science and Applications from Space. TEMPO addresses two of the NASA Science Focus Areas for Earth Science:
TEMPO's six science questions are drawn in large part from the atmospheric chemistry work done by the GEO-CAPE Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Working Groups. TEMPO Science Team Members have many years of experience with requirements developed by the air quality community, using observations of pollution from LEO polar orbiting satellites. TEMPO's advanced capabilities over heritage instruments are designed to answer the following science questions:
Each of these questions has been explored to date from polar orbit using data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard NASA's Aura satellite, from SCIAMACHY on the Envisat satellite of the European Space Agency, and from the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) instruments flown on EUMETSAT missions. TEMPO will measure many of the same atmospheric constituents, but its geostationary orbit will enable groundbreaking spatial and temporal resolutions.