In this paper, we compare constructed records of concentrations of black carbon (BC) — an indicator of anthropogenic aerosols — with observed surface temperature trends in California. Annual average BC concentrations in major air basins in California significantly decreased after about 1990, coincident with an observed statewide surface temperature increase. Seasonal aerosol concentration trends are consistent with observed seasonal temperature trends. These data suggest that the reduction in anthropogenic aerosol concentrations contributed to the observed surface temperature increase. Conversely, high aerosol concentrations may lower surface temperature and partially offset the temperature increase of greenhouse gases.