iButtons are small, steel-encased computer chips that can record temperature and relative humidity. Economical and user-friendly, these coin-sized weather sensors are rugged enough to withstand harsh environments, and can be set up in the field to monitor weather conditions over time. They are especially useful for investigating microclimates in hilly areas, where local weather data can fluctuate drastically over short distances.
Bioversity International scientists are using iButtons to characterize local climates as part of the ‘Seeds for Needs’ initiative (see main story, opposite) across East Africa, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia. Using iButton data in combination with farmers’ observations, researchers are getting a more complete picture of the climate adaptation capabilities of different varieties and crops.
In 2013, we published the manual Collecting weather data in the field with high spatial and temporal resolution using iButtons, by Bioversity International scientists Sarika Mittra, Jacob van Etten and Tito Franco. The manual, which is also available in Spanish, describes in detail how to use iButtons for research purposes in the field.
Read more Annual Report 2013 stories.