Extant data from measurements of halogens in the atmosphere are reviewed in the following categories: gaseous chlorine compounds (inorganic and organic), particulate chloride and chloride in precipitation, gaseous bromine compounds (inorganic and organic), particulate bromide and bromide in precipitation, gaseous iodine compounds (inorganic and organic), iodine in particles and in precipitation, gaseous fluorine compounds (inorganic and organic), and fluoride in particles and precipitation. The roles that these data and other unavailable data play in defining global cycles of the halogens are discussed. Speciation of the halogen gases in the troposphere is very uncertain: the only inorganic species detected by species‐specific methods are HCl and SF6. More specific data are available on organic forms that contain halogens. Key species of gaseous halogens, either established or suspected to be important, are listed along with key processes that need investigation. Heterogeneous reactions, both gas‐to‐particle and particle‐to‐gas processes, precipitation removal, and sea‐salt aerosol generation and fractionation processes need quantitative investigation to allow progress in estimating halogen sources and sinks. Where practical, as with stratospheric inorganic chlorine gases, quantitative comparisons are made between measured and predicted concentrations. Copyright © 1981 by the American Geophysical Union.