Physics trivia

How much does a cloud weigh?

To find out how much a cloud weighs, it is necessary to multiply the value of the density and volume of the water that constitutes it. The resulting mass can reach over 500 tons.

Certain clouds can weigh up to 100 elephants
Clouds are made up of tiny particles of water or ice that float over layers of warm air. These water masses are the product of condensation of water vapor , and the most common types of clouds formed by them are Cirrus, Cumulus and Stratus .
  • Cirrus: High clouds, which occupy positions up to 6000 m, thin and formed by ice crystals.
  • Cumulus : Cloud of vertical and dense development, with protruding contours and flat base. This type of cloud indicates good weather.
  • Stratus: Low clouds, which occupy positions up to 2000 m, have a grayish color and can cause drizzle.

weight of a cloud

The mass of a cloud can be determined based on density . Knowing the amount of water per cubic meter and estimating the volume of a certain type of cloud, it is possible to obtain the product of these values, which corresponds to its mass.

Researcher Peggy LeMone, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the United States of America, says that Cumulus clouds can store more than 500 tons of water. To get an idea of ​​this amount, the researcher compared the amount of this liquid with the mass of elephants. A cumulus , for example, would be equivalent to the mass of approximately 100 elephants.

Despite these estimates, the droplets that make up a cloud are extremely light, have a very large space between them and, if they fell, would evaporate before touching the ground. When the amount of water in a cloud reaches a critical value, this causes these droplets to acquire enough volume to generate precipitation (rain) .

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