The sensitivity of Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) observations to carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations in the lower troposphere (LT) varies widely as the result of variability in thermal contrast conditions. This effect is evident in both the MOPITT weighting functions and averaging kernels, particularly after these quantities are properly normalized to remove grid effects. Comparisons of simulated weighting functions and averaging kernels with operational data confirm the significance of thermal contrast effects. Retrieval sensitivity to LT CO is greatest in daytime observations over land, particularly in tropical and midlatitude regions exhibiting large diurnal variations in surface temperature. Nighttime observations over land typically exhibit poor sensitivity to LT CO. On the global scale, analysis of MOPITT averaging kernels for 1 month indicates that daytime MOPITT observations offer useful sensitivity to LT CO over large areas of most continents. Exceptions include tropical rainforests in Africa and South America, where thermal contrast conditions are relatively weak.