# How much electricity a cloud can generate?

Introduction

If lightning in the storm clouds is generated by the friction of ice crystals and water droplets, it would make sense that any type of cloud can generate static electricity, albeint in smaller amounts.

The Question

What are the factors that directly control the amount of static electricity that a cloud generates, and how those factors affect said amount?

• I'm guessing you want some sort of closed circuit generator that uses clouds, or for that matter, steam? Oct 17 '21 at 12:27
• @Commoner no, I simply want to know what's the amount of electricity a cloud passively generates, let's say, per one cubic meter Oct 17 '21 at 12:32
• it would help if we had a good model of the process of charge separation in lightning clouds. Unfortunately, at present we don't, or at least we didn't know 30 years ago. We know that it happens, and we know that it is somehow the result of the vertical movement of water droplets and crystals in an electric field. (That's why tall, convective cumulonimbus clouds are more likely to produce lightning strikes than other types of clouds.) Other than that, it is still magic. (AFAIK, of course.) Oct 17 '21 at 14:01
• Clouds do not generate electricity passively. Electricity in the air comes from both external sources and from movement of particles in the air. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_electricity So, the volume of stuff going through that one cubic meter in a period of time determines the electricity. Oct 17 '21 at 14:14
• researchgate.net/publication/… is an oldish (2007) review article that may provide some entrypoints if someone would like to look into it. Oct 24 '21 at 11:25