How much does a cloud weigh?

Clouds come in all different shapes, but their weight depends on three factors: size, temperature and density – or, more precisely, the amount of water they contain. Even though they may look light and fluffy, a comparatively small cumulus cloud can weigh as much as two elephants and scientists estimate that an average-sized cumulus cloud could contain as much as 200 tons of water. But that’s a lightweight compared to water-heavy mammatus thunderclouds. According to meteorologist Bjorn Alexander, these distinctive, bag-like thunderclouds can weigh up to 1.5 million tons – or even more in tropical areas.

Quick fact

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