“CLOUDS ARE LIGHTWEIGHT”
Like cotton wool, clouds are always used to describe the lighter things in life. But while they may glide gracefully around a blue sky, clouds are the heavyweight giants of our atmosphere. When you consider the amount of water that comes from a massive downpour, imagine how heavy the cloud must have been to hold it.
The water density of an average fluffy cumulus cloud is about 0.5 grams per cubic metre. If you propose a cloud that is one kilometre long, tall and wide, that gives you a total of 1 billion cubic metres in volume. That works out at around 500 tons of water — the same as around two and half blue whales floating above our heads! This method also suggests that larger and denser cumulonimbus clouds could weigh around 1 million tons! It’s a huge weight, but the surrounding atmosphere is denser than the cloud, so it floats. Temperature also plays a part in keeping these clouds in the air, as warmer air is less dense than cool.
As we know, when a cloud gets too full of water, droplets form and we get rain, and the weight of the cloud reduces as a result. So next time it’s a cloudy day and pouring it down, there could be literally tons of water falling over your head.
There are ten main groups of cloud that cross the sky