Estimating anthropogenic aerosol effects on the planetary energy balance through the aerosol influence on clouds using the difference in cloud radiative forcing from simulations with and without anthropogenic emissions pro-duces estimates that are positively biased. A more represen-tative method is suggested using the difference in cloud ra-diative forcing calculated as a diagnostic with aerosol scat-tering and absorption neglected. The method also yields an aerosol radiative forcing decomposition that includes a term quantifying the impact of changes in surface albedo. The method requires only two additional diagnostic calculations: the whole-sky and clear-sky top-of-atmosphere radiative flux with aerosol scattering and absorption neglected.
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