The regional coupled climatechemistry/aerosol model (RegCM3) is used to investigate the difference in the spatial distribution of aerosol optical depth (AOD) between a strong summer monsoon year (SSMY; July 2003) and a weak summer monsoon year (WSMY; July 2002) under the actual- and same-emission scenarios. It is shown that the intensity of the Asian summer monsoon is primarily responsible for the AOD spatial distribution anomaly in midsummer over East Asia. Specifically, the AOD over southern China, upwind of the Asian summer monsoon, is greater in WSMY than in SSMY, but the opposite is observed for the AOD downwind over northern China and the Korean Peninsula. The AOD spatial distribution patterns simulated on the basis of the actual emission inventories for the SSMY and WSMY do not substantially differ from their counterparts that are based on the same emission inventory, confirming that the monsoon circulation, rather than local emissions or dry and wet deposition processes, is the predominant factor determining the regional AOD distribution. These modeling results are consistent with the analyses based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) products, NCARDepartment of Energy wind fields, and air parcel movements according to the 7-day trajectories of air parcels determined by the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model.