Recent and expected emissions changes lead to striking patterns of change in aerosol loading and radiative forcing over South and East Asia. a, Recent AOD changes observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra since 2010. b, The SSPs project continued changes, shown here for black carbon and SO4, depending on the assumptions made about regional air-quality policies. SSP1 (left), SSP2 (centre) and SSP3 (right) assume strong, medium and weak air-quality policies, respectively. c, These changes will lead to: (1) a net regional aerosol radiative forcing (blue circles) that is seasonally dependent; and (2) balance between reduced warming from absorbing black carbon (red) and reduced cooling from SO4 (blue) from direct scattering and modification of clouds. JJA, June to August; SON, September to November; DJF, December to February; MAM, March to May. d, Aerosol emissions are integrally linked to society through transport, industry, health and other factors, and changes to the circle of causes and effects may alter the risks of a range of climate-related impacts.