We combine CO column measurements from the MOPITT, AIRS, SCIAMACHY, and TES satellite instruments in a full-year (May 2004–April 2005) global inversion of CO sources at 4◦ ×5◦ spatial resolution and monthly temporal resolution. The inversion uses the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model (CTM) and its adjoint applied to MOPITT, AIRS, and SCIAMACHY. Observations from TES, surface sites (NOAA/GMD), and aircraft (MOZAIC) are used for evaluation of the a posteriori solution. Using GEOSChem as a common intercomparison platform shows global consistency between the different satellite datasets and with the in situ data. Differences can be largely explained by different averaging kernels and a priori information. The global CO emission from combustion as constrained in the inversion is 1350 Tg a−1 . This is much higher than current bottomup emission inventories. A large fraction of the correction results from a seasonal underestimate of CO sources at northern mid-latitudes in winter and suggests a larger-thanexpected CO source from vehicle cold starts and residential heating. Implementing this seasonal variation of emissions solves the long-standing problem of models underestimating CO in the northern extratropics in winter-spring. A posteriori emissions also indicate a general underestimation of biomass burning in the GFED2 inventory. However, the tropical biomass burning constraints are not quantitatively consistent across the different datasets.