The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that in the southeastern US and eastern China, the general greenhouse warming due to anthropogenic gaseous emissions is dominated by the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosols. To verify this model prediction in eastern China and southeastern US, we analyzed regional patterns of climate changes at 72 stations in eastern China during 1951- 94 (44 years), and at 52 stations in the southeastern US during 1949-94 (46 years) to detect the fingerprint of aerosol radiative forcing. It was found that the mean rates of change of annual mean daily, maximum, minimum temperatures and diurnal temperature range (DTR) in eastern China were 0.8, -0.2, 1.8, and -2.0 C/100 years respectively, while the mean rates of change of annual mean daily, maximum, minimum temperatures and DTR in the southeastern US were -0.2, -0.6, 0.2, and -0.8 C/100 years, respectively. This indicates that the high rate of increase in annual mean minimum temperature in eastern China results in a slightly warming trend of daily temperature, while the high rate of decrease in annual mean maximum temperature and low rate of increase in annual mean minimum temperature lead to the cooling trend of daily temperature in the southeastern US. We found that the warming from the longwave forcing due to both greenhouse gases and aerosols was completely counteracted by the shortwave aerosol forcing in the southeastern US in the past 46 years. A slightly overall warming trend in eastern China is evident; winters have become milder. This finding is explained by hypothesizing that increasing energy usage during the past 44 years has resulted in more coal and biomass burning, thus increasing the emission of absorbing soot and organic aerosols in eastern China. Such emissions, in addition to well-known Asia dust and greenhouse gases, may be responsible for the winter warming trend in eastern China that we have reported here. The sensitivity of aerosol radiative properties to aerosol composition, size distribution, relative humidity (RH) is examined for the following aerosol systems: inorganic and organic ions (Cl-, Br-, NO3 -, SO4 2-, Na+, NH4 +, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCOO-, CH3COO-, CH3CH2COO-, CH3COCOO-, OOCCOO2-, MSA-1); water-insoluble inorganic and organic compounds (elemental carbon, n-alkanes, SiO2, Al2O3, Fe2O3 and other organic compounds). The partial molar refraction method was used to calculate the real part of the refractive index. It was found that the asymmetry factor increased by approximately 48% with the real part varying from 1.40 to 1.65, and the single scattering albedo decreased by 24% with the imaginary part varying from -0.005 to -0.1. The asymmetry factor increased by 5.4 times with the geometric standard deviation varying from 1.2 to 3.0. The radiation transmission is very sensitive to the change in size distribution; other factors are not as significant. To determine the aerosol direct radiative forcing (ADRF), the aerosol optical depth (AOD) values at the three operational wavelengths (415, 500 and 673 nm) were determined at a regionally representative site, namely, Mt. Gibbs (35.78 deg N, 82.29 deg W, elevation 2006 m) in Mt. Mitchell State Park, NC, and a site located in an adjacent valley (Black Mountain, 35.66 deg N, 82.38 deg W, elevation 951 m) in the southeastern US. The two sites are separated horizontally by 10 km and vertically by 1 km. It was found that the representative total AOD values at 500 nm at the valley site for highly polluted (HP), marine (M) and continental (C) air masses were 0.68 +/- 0.33, 0.29 +/- 0.19 and 0.10 +/- 0.04, respectively. A search-graph method was used to retrieve the columnar size distribution (number concentration N, effective radius reff and geometric standard deviation=?g) from the optical depth observations at three operational wavelengths. The ground albedo, single scattering albedo and imaginary part of the refractive index were calculated using a mathematically unique procedure involving a Mie code and a radiative transfer code in conjunction with the retrieved aerosol size distribution, AOD, and diffuse-direct irradiance ratio. It was found that N, r(eff) and sigma(g) were in the ranges of 10 to 1.7 x 10(exp 4)/cubic cm, 0.09 to 0.68 micrometers and 1.12 to 2.95, respectively. The asymmetry factor and single scattering albedo were in the ranges of 0.63 to 0.75 and 0.74 to 0.97 respectively. The ground albedo for the forested terrain and imaginary part of refractive index were found to be in the ranges of 0.06 to 0.29 and 0.005 to 0.051 respectively. On the basis of these aerosol radiative properties obtained at the research sites and computations using the Column Radiation Model (CRM) of National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model (CCM3), it was found that the average cloud-free 24-hour ADRF values were -13 +/- 8, -8 +/- 3, -33 +/- 16 W/square m for marine, continental, and polluted air masses, respectively. On the assumption that the fractional coverage of clouds is 0.61, it was estimated that the annual mean ADRF was 7 +/- 2 W/square m in the southeastern US. The review with respect to the current knowledge of organic acids shows that aerosol formate and acetate concentrations range from 0.02 to 5.3 nmol/cubic m and from 0.03 to 12.4 nmol/cubic m respectively, and that between 34% to 77% of formate and between 21% to 66% of acetate are present in the fine fraction of aerosols. It was found that although most (98-99%) of these volatile organic acids were present in the gas phase, their concentrations in the aerosol particles were sufficient to make them a good candidate for cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). It is hypothesized that organic acids are at least one of the primary sources of CCN in the atmosphere due to their ubiquitous presence in the troposphere, especially over the continental forested areas. The results of our measurements at Palmer Station, Antarctica show that the daily average CCN concentrations at 0.3% and 1% supersaturations ranged from 0.3 to 160/cubic cm and from 4 to 168/cubic cm, respectively, during the period from 17 January to 26 February, 1994. New evidence for substantial and definitive CCN enhancement near and within cloud has been observed at Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina. The results show that the average monthly CCN concentrations were 460 +/- 217, 386 +/- 286, 429 +/- 228 and 238 +/- 134/cubic cm for in-cloud, overcast, clear and rainy conditions, respectively. The typical CCN spectra show that there were a lot of small CCN produced and the ion concentrations (especially H+ and SO4 2-) were very high during the CCN enhancement period. The significantly positive correlation between black carbon (BC) and CCN at 1% supersaturation indicates that a percentage of the BC measured at the site may be in the form of an internal mixture and participated in the formation of CCN.