Here is how citizens and scientists can join forces to collect information. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has developed a mobile weather station that runs only on open-source software and parts available locally in Sri Lanka. It costs just $750 – compared to traditional weather stations that come in at around $10,000.
The Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum has installed these mobile weather stations at a dozen schools in Sri Lanka, recruiting hundreds of students to join the weather data collection efforts.
The power of this data can save entire harvests – as rice farmers in Colombia can attest to. After scientists at CIAT analysed large sets of weather data, they advised rice farmers to delay planting their crops in the first two annual growing seasons due to adverse weather conditions. The 170 farmers who followed the advice avoided a staggering $3.6 million in losses.