On clouds.

Take something you totally take for granted. Something you see every day.

Let’s say, for example, a cloud.

If you are imagining this cloud right now, it is probably a Cumulus. Perhaps not. Perhaps you are thinking of a sinister dark thundercloud. Cumulonimbus. A towering anvil of hail and thunder cracked through with St Elmo’s fire and rolling destruction. Impending gloom. Impending doom.

Yipes. You have had a bad day right?

Let’s drop that storm cloud for a moment, and swap it out for a cumulus.

Cumulus are the cotton puff clouds that young children capture perfectly in their otherwise rough representation of Mum and Dad holding hands outside a square peak roofed house under a smiley sun.
A single spring of smoke rising from the chimney.

Except… that’s not Mum and Dad silly, thats Derrick the dog.

Oh. Of course, you correct, I see it is Derrick now.
How did I ever get that wrong?
The whole drawing coloured pink and blue and thick Texta green in free, abstract, over-the-line abandon. How could you not see Derrick?

But you got the cloud right.

So there it is. You see it clearly now, yes?
Floating way up there (or in there if you are imagining it).
A white fluffy spray of water droplets.


How much do you think this little cloud weighs?

10 kilograms?

90 kilograms?

190 kilograms?

Well, I am hoping to blow your mind just a little by telling you that it probably weighs around two hundred thousand kilograms1.

I suggest that now you possess this knowledge, you may want to run to the nearest window. Try to stay calm and not distress others in the room.

There’s one! Passing directly overhead. And there, just a little further down. And there, and there, and there.

200,000 kilogram (at least)2 juggernaut cloudbergs held up by nothing other than a little rudimentary high school physics regarding thermal gradients.

I tell you this little factoid so as to inject a little wonderment into your day. And to remind you not to take all those things you take for granted….for granted.

Things are not as they seem.

  1. A pretty average Cumulus cloud will occupy around 1 square kilometre of space. So this is only a middle range estimation!
  2. Source: The Cloudspotters Handbook

One response to “On clouds.”

  1. Wow That must be why on dark thundery days I always suffer headaches it’s all that weight pressing down on my head


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