How much does Earth’s atmosphere weigh? © Getty Images

How much does Earth’s atmosphere weigh?

It turns out the phrase ‘light as air’ is a bit misleading…

Asked by: Richard Evans, Ashford

Advertisement

Just over five quadrillion tonnes. Air is surprisingly heavy. A cubic metre of air at sea level weighs about 1.3kg and all the oceans only weigh 270 times as much as the atmosphere. We tend to underestimate the mass of air because we spend all our lives surrounded by it, and it presses down on us from all directions equally.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.