Aerosol particles can directly alter the radiation balance by scattering and absorbing incident solar radiation, thus decreasing the amount of light reaching the surface and increasing the fraction of diffuse radiation—the so-called ‘aerosol direct radiative effect’. Using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aerosol products, the aerosol direct radiative effects under all-sky conditions in Beijing and Shanghai in 2007 were explored in this study.