Okay, let's cut right to the chase: how much do you think an average-sized cloud weighs?

When my dad asked me this question a few weeks ago, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of what the answer would be. Obviously, clouds were either really light or really heavy. If not, then this would be a pretty shitty trivia question,

So I took a guess: three pounds.


The average, cumulus cloud actually weighs... brace yourselves...



Exactly Chris Rock. How, in God's name, does a cloud weigh 1.1 million? And how did scientists figure that out? And if they are so heavy, why don't they fall out of the sky and crush people? And since we're on the topic of clouds, what the fuck does this Judy Garland quote mean:


So many questions!

But let's get back to the real question: how is it possible that a cloud, that fluffy little thing in the sky, weighs 1.1 million pounds? It turns out that the answer is nowhere near as complicated as the classic "Why aren't toasters transparent?" question.

In order for water droplets to fall from the sky, they need to generate falling velocity. And in order to generate enough falling velocity, they have to be a certain weight. And when water droplets do reach that weight, they fall to the ground, and we get rain (Don't quote me on that, I didn't fact check it at all, but it makes sense, right?)

But when they don't reach that weight, they just float in the air, cohere, and make clouds. And although individually, these drops weigh next to nothing, so many of them cohere that, combined, they weigh over one million pounds.

Science ladies and gentlemen!