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A third component of motion that occurs relatively infrequently involves the interaction of multiple tropical cyclones. When two cyclones approach one another, their centers will begin orbiting cyclonically about a point between the two systems. Depending on their separation distance and strength, the two vortices may simply orbit around one another, or else may spiral into the center point and merge. When the two vortices are of unequal size, the larger vortex will tend to dominate the interaction, and the smaller vortex will orbit around it. This phenomenon is called the Fujiwhara effect, after Sakuhei Fujiwhara.
Before satellite imagery became available during the 20th century, many of these systems went undetected unless it impacted land or a ship encountered it by chance. Often in part because of the threat of hurricanes, many coastal regions had sparse population between major ports until the advent of automobile tourism; therefore, the most severe portions of hurricanes striking the coast may have gone unmeasured in some instances. The combined effects of ship destruction and remote landfall severely limit the number of intense hurricanes in the official record before the era of hurricane reconnaissance aircraft and satellite meteorology. Although the record shows a distinct increase in the number and strength of intense hurricanes, therefore, experts regard the early data as suspect. The ability of climatologists to make a long-term analysis of tropical cyclones is limited by the amount of reliable historical data. During the 1940s, routine aircraft reconnaissance started in both the Atlantic and Western Pacific basin during the mid-1940s, which provided ground truth data, however, early flights were only made once or twice a day. Polar-orbiting weather satellites were first launched by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1960 but were not declared operational until 1965. However, it took several years for some of the warning centres to take advantage of this new viewing platform and develop the expertise to associate satellite signatures with storm position and intensity.
High-speed computers and sophisticated simulation software allow forecasters to produce computer models that predict tropical cyclone tracks based on the future position and strength of high- and low-pressure systems. Combining forecast models with increased understanding of the forces that act on tropical cyclones, as well as with a wealth of data from Earth-orbiting satellites and other sensors, scientists have increased the accuracy of track forecasts over recent decades. However, scientists are not as skillful at predicting the intensity of tropical cyclones. The lack of improvement in intensity forecasting is attributed to the complexity of tropical systems and an incomplete understanding of factors that affect their development. New tropical cyclone position and forecast information is available at least every six hours from the various warning centers. 2b1af7f3a8