Tuesday, February 03, 2009

How much does a cloud weigh and how much water is in it?

I got to lighten this blog up, the posts lately lack optimism and are overly grumpy! I suspect it is all due to this flu I got which is keeping me out of the pool and out of a meet next weekend.

So here goes: Above is an enormous cloud mass that a National Geographic photographer took in Texas. This cloud mass probably has a "fancy-schmancy" scientific name such as, Start running away in the opposite direction or else, but it got me to thinking about how much water could possibly be in a cloud that big?

The cloud above is nicknamed the "Texas Mother" by the photographer, Peter Carsten. The structure is perhaps tens-of-miles wide and certainly miles-upon-miles tall.

With that in mind, I looked up that a simple, lazy, cloud that is a kilometer-wide and a kilometer-tall has enough water content to weigh: 2.2 billion pounds.

Since a gallon of water weighs roughly 8.35 pounds, eight of these kilometer, sized, cubes would have enough water content to fill a cubic-mile or fulfill the amount of water that Los Angeles requires in a single year.

Yep, that's a trillion gallons! It's literally a "flying sea"

Cloud weight reference: [Link]

Gallon weight reference: [Link]

Los Angeles water usage reference [Link]

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