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Veracity of hurricane climate record???

I'm currently doing an analysis of the official NHC database of hurricane tracks from 1851 -2004.

I'm trying to nail down (roughly) a year from which time we can have more confidence in. For example, "we can have greater confidence in historical hurricane tracks and intensity data from 1970 - 2004 than from 1960 - 2004".

I was thinking of using the year satellite observations came into play as a starting point. I'm not sure as to the exact date when satellites began capturing images of hurricanes but I know Ive seen shots of Camille in '69. Surely the military had satellites in play much before this.

Does anyone else have any suggestions as to what year track and intensity skill began to improve greatly because of "x"?

P.S. I found an ESRI shapefile of ALL (known) Atlantic basin hurricane tracks from 1851 -2004 with date, wind speed, name etc. information. If anyone is interested in this for GIS anlaysis let me know and I'll send it to you.
Thanks. I'm thinking of going with 1944 as a starting year for "better" tracking/intensity obs. That was the year hurricane reconnaissance missions were initiated.

1944 The Great Atlantic hurricane sweeps up the eastern seaboard and causes 390 casualties, mostly at sea. This is the first hurricane with scheduled aircraft reconnaissance and the first radar depiction of a hurricane eye and spiral rainbands.