# How Much Does a Cloud Weigh?

Photo by Michael Jastremski

How much does a cloud weigh?

via Mental Floss:

First, figure out how dense the cloud is. Scientists have measured the water density of a typical cumulus cloud (the white, fluffy ones you see on a nice day) as 1/2 gram per cubic meter—about a small marble’s worth of water in a space you and a friend could comfortably sit in. The density will be greater for different types of clouds.

Next, figure out how big the cloud is. By measuring a cloud’s shadow when the sun is directly above it, you can get an idea of its width. LeMone does this by watching her odometer as she drives under a cloud. A typical cumulus, she says, is about a kilometer across, and usually roughly cubical—so a kilometer long and a kilometer tall, too. This gives you a cloud that’s one billion cubic meters in volume.

Do the math with the density and volume to determine the total water content of the cloud. In this case, it’s 500,000,000 grams of water, or 1.1 million pounds. That’s a lot of weight to wrap your head around, so LeMone suggests putting it in more familiar terms, like elephants. That cloud weighs about as much as 100 elephants. If you’re a Democrat and you’re feeling partisan, she says, you could substitute 2500 donkeys. If you care more for dinosaurs than politics, you could also say the cloud weighs about as much as 33 apatosauruses.

If all those elephants or donkeys or dinosaurs were hanging out in the sky, they’d fall. So how does a several-hundred-ton cloud stay afloat? For one thing, the weight isn’t concentrated in a hundred elephant-sized particles or even a billion marble-sized ones. It’s distributed among trillions of really tiny water droplets spread out over a really big space. Some of these droplets are so small that you would need a million of them to make one raindrop, and gravity’s effect on them is pretty negligible.

### Marcie Gainer

#### 9 Commentson "How Much Does a Cloud Weigh?"

1. Echar Lailoken | Jul 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm |

This has me wondering if drones with attached lasers could measure this.

• That all depends on who the clouds are associates with:

• Echar Lailoken | Jul 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm |

I’ve found that images take a bit register. You must have faith that they will work, and gaud forbid you add the same pic twice.

• That all depends on who the clouds are associates with…

2. BuzzCoastin | Jul 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm |

Chemtrail or regular clouds?

3. sofiarconlon | Jul 14, 2014 at 3:56 am |

just before I looked at the receipt ov \$8130 , I
didn’t believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from
there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only
about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and
bought themselves a Chrysler . see here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­