Total column amounts of CO, CH4, CO2 and N2O retrieved from SCIAMACHY nadir observations in its near-infrared channels have been compared to data from a ground-based quasi-global network of Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers. The SCIAMACHY data considered 5 here have been produced by three different retrieval algorithms, WFM-DOAS (version 0.4, 0.41 for CH4), IMAP-DOAS (version 0.9) and IMLM (version 5.5) and cover the January to December 2003 time period. Comparisons have been made for individual data, as well as for monthly averages. To maximize the number of reliable coincidences that satisfy the temporal and spatial collocation criteria, the 10 SCIAMACHY data have been compared with a temporal 3rd order polynomial interpolation of the ground-based data. Particular attention has been given to the question whether SCIAMACHY observes correctly the seasonal and latitudinal variability of the target species. The ensemble of comparisons, discussed in this paper, demonstrate the capability of SCIAMACHY, using any of the three algorithms, to deliver products 15 for the target species under consideration, which are already useful for qualitative geophysical studies on a global scale. It is expected that the remaining uncertainties in the data products will decrease in future versions of the algorithm to also allow more quantitative investigations on a regional scale.