There is increasing evidence that the response of climate to increasing greenhouse gases may be modified by accompanying increases in sulfate aerosols. In this study, the patterns of response in the surface climatology of a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model forced by increases in carbon dioxide alone is compared with those obtained by increasing carbon dioxide and aerosol forcing. The simulations are run from early industrial times using the estimated historical forcing and continued to the end of the twenty-first century assuming a nonintervention emissions scenario for greenhouse gases and aerosols. The comparison is made for the period 2030-2050 when the aerosol forcing is a maximum. In winter, the cooling due to aerosols merely tends to reduce the response to carbon dioxide, whereas in summer, it weakens the monsoon circulations and reverses some of the changes in the hydrological cycle on increasing carbon dioxide. This response is in some respects similar to that found in simulations with changed orbital parameters, as between today and the middle Holocene. The hydrological response in the palaeosimulations is supported by palaeoclimatic reconstructions. The results of changes in aerosol concentrations of the magnitude projected in the scenarios would have a major effect on regional climate, especially over Europe and Southeast Asia.