We apply the adjoint of an atmospheric chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem CTM) to constrain Asian sources of carbon monoxide (CO) with 2° × 2.5° spatial resolution using Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) satellite observations of CO columns in February–April 2001. Results are compared to the more common analytical method for solving the same Bayesian inverse problem and applied to the same data set. The analytical method is more exact but because of computational limitations it can only constrain emissions over coarse regions. We find that the correction factors to the a priori CO emission inventory from the adjoint inversion are generally consistent with those of the analytical inversion when averaged over the large regions of the latter. The adjoint solution reveals fine-scale variability (cities, political boundaries) that the analytical inversion cannot resolve, for example, in the Indian subcontinent or between Korea and Japan, and some of that variability is of opposite sign which points to large aggregation errors in the analytical solution. Upward correction factors to Chinese emissions from the prior inventory are largest in central and eastern China, consistent with a recent bottom-up revision of that inventory, although the revised inventory also sees the need for upward corrections in southern China where the adjoint and analytical inversions call for downward correction. Correction factors for biomass burning emissions derived from the adjoint and analytical inversions are consistent with a recent bottom-up inventory on the basis of MODIS satellite fire data.