This is How Much Water is in a Cloud

Researchers have calculated that the average cumulus cloud – that beautiful, white fluffy kind you see on a sunny day – weighs an incredible 500,000 kg (or 11 million pounds! )

First, you need to understand that clouds are made of tiny water droplets, which means they must have some weight

The next step is to determine how dense your cloud is

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

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

Obviously, the density of other types of clouds can be much greater, but let’s stick with cumulus for now Once you’ve worked out the density of your cloud, you need to think about how big it is, that scale varies greatly

Peggy LeMone, who led several cloud studies at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, calculated that the average cumulus is about a kilometer across and has the shape of a cube, so the height is the same as the width do the math on that, and you have a cloud with a volume of one billion cubic meters

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

*Looks up nervously* To begin with, this difficulty is not concentrated in one point, it is clearly spread over a large area

Also, clouds made of water droplets are sometimes so small that gravity has no effect on them

And because of the condensation, the clouds are really blowing Perhaps even more surprising is that the cloud is actually slightly lower than dry air, which keeps the duck down, as Soniak explains

Find out more in the episode It’s OK to Be Smart below, and you’ll never think about clouds the same way again

width=”700″ height=”414″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen” seamless=”seamless”>Sources: Brainstorming, It’s Good to Be Wise

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