The latest Hadley Centre climate model, HadGEM2-ES, includes Earth system components such as interactive chemistry and eight species of tropospheric aerosols. It has been run for the period 1860–2100 in support of the fifth phase of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Anthropogenic aerosol emissions peak between 1980 and 2020, resulting in a present-day all-sky top of the atmosphere aerosol forcing of −1.6 and −1.4 W m−2 with and without ammonium nitrate aerosols, respectively, for the sum of direct and first indirect aerosol forcings. Aerosol forcing becomes significantly weaker in the 21st century, being weaker than −0.5 W m−2 in 2100 without nitrate. However, nitrate aerosols become the dominant species in Europe and Asia and decelerate the decrease in global mean aerosol forcing. Considering nitrate aerosols makes aerosol radiative forcing 2–4 times stronger by 2100 depending on the representative concentration pathway, although this impact is lessened when changes in the oxidation properties of the atmosphere are accounted for. Anthropogenic aerosol residence times increase in the future in spite of increased precipitation, as cloud cover and aerosol-cloud interactions decrease in tropical and midlatitude regions. Deposition of fossil fuel black carbon onto snow and ice surfaces peaks during the 20th century in the Arctic and Europe but keeps increasing in the Himalayas until the middle of the 21st century. Results presented here confirm the importance of aerosols in influencing the Earth's climate, albeit with a reduced impact in the future, and suggest that nitrate aerosols will partially replace sulphate aerosols to become an important anthropogenic species in the remainder of the 21st century.