We present global distributions of carbon monoxide (CO) from the upper troposphere to the mesosphere observed by the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) on Envisat. Vertically resolved volume mixing ratio profiles have been retrieved from 4.7 μm limb emission spectra under consideration of non-local thermodynamic equilibrium. The precision of individual CO profiles is typically 5–30 ppbv (15–40% for altitudes greater than 40 km and lower than 15 km and 30–90% within 15–40 km). Estimated systematic errors are in the order of 8–15%. Below 60 km, the vertical resolution is 4–7 km. The data set which covers 54 days from September 2003 to March 2004 has been derived with an improved retrieval version including (i) the retrieval of log(vmr), (ii) the consideration of illumination-dependent vibrational population gradients along the instrument's line of sight, and (iii) joint-fitted vmr horizontal gradients in latitudinal and longitudinal directions. A detailed analysis of spatially resolved CO distributions during the 2003/2004 Northern Hemisphere major warming event demonstrate the potential of MIPAS CO observations to obtain new information on transport processes during dynamical active episodes, particularly on those acting in the vertical. ... mehrFrom the temporal evolution of zonally averaged CO abundances, we derived extraordinary polar winter descent velocities of 1200 m per day inside the recovered polar vortex in January 2004. Middle stratospheric CO abundances show a well established correlation with the chemical source CH4, particularly in the tropics. In the upper troposphere, a moderate CO decrease from September 2003 to March 2004 was observed. Upper tropospheric CO observations provide a detailed picture of long-range transport of polluted air masses and uplift events. MIPAS observations taken on 9–11 September 2003 confirm the trapping of convective outflow of polluted CO-rich air from Southeast Asia into the Asian monsoon anticyclone, which has been described in previous studies. Upper tropospheric CO plumes, observed by MIPAS on this day, were predominantly located in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of these plumes could be related to Southeast Asian pollution by means of backward trajectory calculations. During 20–22 October, southern hemispheric biomass burning was the most likely source of the major CO plumes observed over the Southern Atlantic and Indian Ocean.