Here’s How Much a Cloud Weighs

Researchers have calculated that the average cumulus cloud – which is that nice, white fluffy kind you see on a sunny day – weighs an incredible 500,000 kg (or 1.1 million pounds!).

First of all, you must realize that clouds are made up of many tiny water droplets, which means they must have some mass.

The next step is then to figure out how dense your cloud is.

Scientists have found that the water density of this cloud type is about 1/2 gram of water per cubic meter.

So, as Matt Soniak writes at Mental Floss, that’s about a marble of water in a box big enough for you and a friend to sit in.

Obviously, the density of other types of clouds would be much greater, but let’s stick to the cumulus for now. Once you’ve worked out the density of your cloud, you need to figure out how big it is, which is a measure of what it is. also varies widely.

Peggy LeMone, who led much of the cloud pesi research at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, calculated that the average cumulus is about a kilometer wide and roughly shaped like a cube, so it’s as tall as it is wide. the math on that, and you have a cloud with a volume of one billion cubic meters.

Or, as LeMone explained it to Soniak, think of it as 100 elephants.

*Looks up nervously*.At first, this weight is not all concentrated in one point, it is obviously spread over a huge space.

Clouds are also made up of water droplets, which are sometimes so tiny that gravity barely affects them.

And due to condensation, clouds actually float. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that a cloud is actually less dense than dry air, so that keeps them floating, as Soniak explains.

Find out more in the episode of It’s Good to Be Smart below, and never think about clouds the same way again.

width=”700″ height=”414″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen” seamless=”seamless”>Sources: Mental Floss, It’s Good to Be Smart

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