We retrieved column-averaged dry air mole fractions of atmospheric carbon dioxide (XCO 2) from backscattered short-wave infrared (SWIR) sunlight measured by the Japanese Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT). Over two years of XCO 2 retrieved from GOSAT is compared with XCO 2 inferred from collocated SWIR measurements by seven ground-based Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) stations. The average difference between GOSAT and TCCON XCO 2 for individual TCCON sites ranges from -0.87 ppm to 0.77 ppm with a mean value of 0.1 ppm and standard deviation of 0.56 ppm. We find an average bias between all GOSAT and TCCON XCO 2 retrievals of -0.20 ppm with a standard deviation of 2.26 ppm and a correlation coefficient of 0.75. One year of XCO 2 was retrieved from GOSAT globally, which was compared to global 3-D GEOS-Chem chemistry transport model calculations. We find that the latitudinal gradient, seasonal cycles, and spatial variability of GOSAT and GEOS-Chem agree well in general with a correlation coefficient of 0.61. Regional differences between GEOS-Chem model calculations and GOSAT observations are typically less than 1 ppm except for the Sahara and central Asia where a mean difference between 2 to 3 ppm is observed, indicating regional biases in the GOSAT XCO 2 retrievals unobserved by the current TCCON network. Using a bias correction scheme based on linear regression these regional biases are significantly reduced, approaching the required accuracy for surface flux inversions. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.