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City, Science

A lake above us. How much does that cloud weigh?

Posted by Hannah / August 2, 2006

I discovered a Japanese water garden in my backyard this afternoon. Pale yellow leaves floated through the pond, ducking beneath delicate grasses. The sound of rushing water filled the air. The only thing missing were orange carp.

Obviously, I do not tend an ornamental garden in my backyard. I was trying to find some awe in the deluge of rain that poured down this afternoon (twice) and yesterday evening. How does a fluffy white (or sinister grey) cloud hold so much water? How much does one weigh?

I turned to the trusty internet for my answer and was pleasantly surprised with the result: the water in a typical cumulus cloud (the nice cotton-ball puffy ones) weighs about the same as one hundred elephants (6 tonnes). Storm clouds, on the other hand, are better compared to 200,000 cavorting elephants. You don't even want to know about hurricane clouds.



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