# Are clouds denser than air?

Clouds are made up of tiny water or ice droplets, depending on temperature. This implies that cloud density is greater than that of dry air. Why don’t clouds sink through their surrounding atmosphere rather than float by in a variety of formations? Clouds don’t start as clouds.

This begs the query “Are clouds dense?”

They are usually dense in appearance with sharp outlines. The base of cumulus clouds are generally flat and occurs at the altitude where the moisture in rising air condenses.

Another thing we wondered was do clouds float on air?

As a result, clouds appear to float on air. Clouds are composed primarily of small water droplets and, if it’s cold enough, ice crystals. The vast majority of clouds you see contain droplets and/or crystals that are too small to have any appreciable fall velocity. So the particles continue to float with the surrounding air.

So, even though typical clouds do contain a lot of water, this water is spread out for miles in the form of tiny water droplets or crystals, which are so small that the effect of gravity on them is negligible.

## Do clouds have weight?

Even though a cloud seems to float in air, both the air and the cloud have mass and weight. Clouds float in the sky because they are less dense than air, yet it turns out they weigh a lot., and how much? About a million pounds!

One cloud weighs as much as 100 elephants! Clouds appear to float so effortlessly in the sky that one would think that they are weightless. However, this is actually far from the case. A single cumulus cloud weighs 1.1 million pounds on average. To put this into perspective, that is equal to the weight of about 100 elephants or 2,500 donkeys!

Assuming the weight of air as 1.225 kg/m³LWC values for different clouds based on the above tableAssuming the volume occupied by water droplets is negligible.

Next, you can use the density of a cloud to find its mass: Density = Mass / Volume0.5 grams per cubic meter = x / 1,000,000,000 cubic meters500,000,000 grams = mass.

How much weight can a cloud hold?

The total mass of the cloud particles is about 1 million kilograms, which is roughly equivalent to the weight of 500 automobiles. But the total mass of the air in that same cubic kilometer is about 1 billion kilograms–1,000 times heavier than the liquid!

## Why do clouds start out as clouds?

Clouds don’t start as clouds. Most of them start out as humid air, typically from evaporation from a large body of water (say, the Pacific or Atlantic ocean, and most of that between latitudes 30 degrees north and south). Now humid air is LIGHTER (less dense) than normal air.

A query we ran across in our research was “Why do clouds form at a certain height?”.

One answer is at a certain height, air cools enough for any water vapour to condense into droplets and form visible clouds. The droplets are liquid water, and therefore denser than air, but they are tiny, so they have a low terminal velocity and fall very slowly.

Stratus cloud often look like thin, white sheets covering the whole sky. Since they are so thin, they seldom produce much rain or snow. Sometimes, in the mountains or hills, these clouds appear to be fog. Cumulonimbus clouds grow on hot days when warm, wet air rises very high into the sky. From far away, they look like huge mountains or towers.

## Why is humid air denser than normal air?

Now humid air is LIGHTER (less dense) than normal air. This is because gases like to run the same number of moles (number of molecules) per cubic meter, and an H2O molecule weighs less (much less) than an N2, O2 or CO2 molecule.