We introduce and evaluate aerosol simulations with the global aerosol-climate model ECHAM6.3-HAM2.3, which is the aerosol component of the fully coupled aerosol-chemistry-climate model ECHAM-HAMMOZ. Both the host atmospheric climate model ECHAM6.3 and the aerosol model HAM2.3 were updated from previous versions. The updated version of the HAM aerosol model contains improved parameterizations of aerosol processes such as cloud activation, as well as updated emission fields for anthropogenic aerosol species and modifications in the online computation of sea salt and mineral dust aerosol emissions. Aerosol results from nudged and free-running simulations for the 10-year period 2003 to 2012 are compared to various measurements of aerosol properties. While there are regional deviations between the model and observations, the model performs well overall in terms of aerosol optical thickness, but may underestimate coarse-mode aerosol concentrations to some extent so that the modeled particles are smaller than indicated by the observations. Sulfate aerosol measurements in the US and Europe are reproduced well by the model, while carbonaceous aerosol species are biased low. Both mineral dust and sea salt aerosol concentrations are improved compared to previous versions of ECHAM-HAM. The evaluation of the simulated aerosol distributions serves as a basis for the suitability of the model for simulating aerosol-climate interactions in a changing climate.