How Much Does a Cloud Weigh

cloud and a meadow

Every poetic-minded person at least once in a lifetime looked up to the skies and romantically sighed: “Oh, that clouds are so light and free. I wish to turn into a cloud and fly away somewhere nice.”

To get this naïve goosey back to the reality, the obsessed with physics man enters the stage and explains that being a cloud is not that fascinating and easy.

Peggy LeMone is the scientist who developed the special technique that helps in measuring how much does the average cloud weigh. She turns to this sweet on clouds romantic and says,

  • Do you look at that cloud close to the horizon line?
  • Yeah, isn’t it nice? So fluffy, white, small, and looks like a teddy bear.
  • It’s not that light, dude. First, look at its density. Your teddy bear is a typical cumulus cloud – so the water inside it fills half of a gram for each cubic meter. Not that easy to fly with the weight of a couple of elephants on you, ha? Or what calculation do you prefer? 4 male and 1 female polar bears?
  • But…
  • Don’t tell me you want that cumulonimbus cloud to be your new friend. It’s up to ten times denser and thousand times larger than your two-elephant teddy bear. And the average cumulus cloud contains 500,000,000 grams of water, the weight equal to 10 elephants. That won’t help.
  • But it looks so light…
  • Don’t trust the clouds, dude. This weight is distributed among the tiniest droplets – the size pretty negligible for the gravity effect.
  • But it means that the dimensions of a cloud are really giant?
  • Your logic is waking up, dude. Let’s measure the real size of your flying partner. Look at those lovely shadows – we talk just in the perfect time of the day to use my odometer.
  • You mean the midday? When sun is directly above?
  • Stand under the cloud and look at the measurement. You see? It’s about a kilometer of walking distance straight and up! I think it’s a high time to consider a plane ticket for you instead of turning into the cloud. With your overall dimensions, your chances of fitting the doors of a nice place are below zero.
  • OK, thank you!
  • Don’t be so relieved. Even in the plane, you will meet your cloud. Have you watched the movies when a plane appears in the zone of turbulence? That’s how your wild and free teddy bear scares the passengers. Between the water, clouds keep maelstrom of air to keep flying and not falling on our heads.
  • So, they just stay and don’t fly…?
  • Sorry for breaking your ideals. Technically, they always move but in the direction towards the earth. However, they also condense and evaporate, so you will not be the same teddy bear kilometer cloud as yesterday. I hope you understand the basics of how water evaporates from the oceans and turns into the cloud…
  • I think so.
  • Good for you. I know your life will never be the same, so good luck in buying a flight ticket. I highly recommend Bali.

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