Geography GCSE: How much does a cloud weigh?

Scientists in an airship want to determine the mass of water in a small cloud.

They fly the airship into the cloud and use lasers to determine its length and width. They then take a sample of the water droplets in it and determine its density.

Using an estimate of its height, they calculate an approximate volume and then use the formula density = mass/volume (not shown in the clip) to calculate its mass. A comparison of the masses of different clouds is made.

This clip is from the series Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies.

Teacher Notes

Could be used as an introduction to the idea of measurements or be shown to begin a discussion of how to measure and calculate.

Could potentially lead on to a lesson about materials and how to determine the density of them.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Geography at GCSE in England and National 4 in Scotland. Appears in AQA, OCR, EDEXCEL, CCEA, WJEC, SQA.

More from Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies -

The weather and bird migration
What causes rain?
Can cities make their own weather?