The seasonal and diurnal behavior of atmospheric submicron aerosol was studied in the northern Indian city of Kanpur in the Indo Gangetic Plain during July 2006–May 2007. The size distribution and mass concentration of the aerosol in the range of 15-700 nm was measured using a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS). Simultaneously, black carbon (BC) measurement was made using an aethalometer. The measurements were recorded for four different seasons, viz. monsoon, post-monsoon, winter and pre-monsoon. The diurnal variation of BC and submicron aerosol mass followed very similar trends in all the seasons. This is evident by the fact that BC had strong positive correlation with the submicron aerosol mass (0.83 ≤ R ≤ 0.96, where R is the Pearson’s correlation coefficient). Both peaked once in the morning [07:00-09:00 local time (LT)], and once in the night (20:00-22:00 LT). The peak concentrations varied from season to season, which could be attributed to seasonal variation in anthropogenic activity, traffic movement and atmospheric boundary layer conditions. The background aerosol number concentration in winter (~105 #/cm3) was an order of magnitude higher than that observed in other seasons (~104 #/cm3); and on a foggy day in the winter, it was twice as high as that seen on a clear winter day. The fraction (FBC) of the BC mass concentration in the submicron aerosol was observed to be highest in monsoon (0.18 ± 0.13), followed by pre-monsoon (0.08 ± 0.02) and post-monsoon (0.05 ± 0.01), with the lowest in winter (0.03 ± 0.01).