Mesoscale eddy process with at least one splitting and/or merging event can be defined as either a complex process or a simple process. Investigation of the difference between these two categories could provide new insights into how different factors, such as the seabed topography, Kuroshio intrusion, and winds, affect the origin, migration, and decay of the mesoscale eddies. This study compared the characteristics of the complex against the simple eddy processes in the South China Sea (SCS) from 1993 to 2016. We comprehensively analyzed the eddy processes with regards to their characteristic points, trajectories, and networks. The simple and complex processes share many similarities but do show significantly different behaviors. Both the simple and complex processes mainly start from the eastern SCS. However, the complex processes mainly vanish in the western SCS whereas the simple processes disappear almost everywhere across the SCS. The complex processes last longer and migrate more than the simple processes. Lastly, the complex processes mainly move westward within the community. The complex processes can be further categorized into complex anticyclonic and cyclonic eddy processes. Spatially, the splitting and merging events mainly occur in the southwest of Taiwan, northwest of the Luzon Island, and the southeast of Vietnam. Temporally, the merging and splitting events mainly occur in the fall. The interaction among the communities reveals the different migration patterns of the complex anticyclonic and cyclonic eddy processes in the SCS.
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