A major concern today is to accurately measure CO2, O3, H2O, and CH4 in the atmosphere for the prediction of climate and weather. These measurements are critical for understanding the Earth's atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry, and systemic forcing driving climactic changes. For these measurements, detectors with high quantum efficiency and near background limited performance detectivity over a wide wavelength range are necessary. In this article, we will review the state-of-the-art single and multicolor detector technologies in a wide spectral-range, for use in space-based and airborne remote sensing applications. Simultaneous detection in multi-wavelength bands with a single focal plane array (FPA) will result in reduction or elimination of heavy and complex optical components now required for wavelength differentiation in atmospheric remote sensors leading to smaller, lighter, simpler instruments with higher performance. Discussions are focused on current and the most recently developed FPA in addition to emphasizing future development in UV-to-Far infrared multicolor FPA detectors for next generation space-based instruments to measure water vapor and greenhouse gases. This novel detector component will make instruments designed for these critical measurements more efficient while reducing complexity and associated electronics and weight. Finally, we will discuss the on-going detector technology efforts at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).