Recently, there have been several breakthroughs in the study of atmospheric electricity using ground based cosmic ray detectors. The observations reported from these cosmic ray detectors can lead to a better understanding of the physical mechanisms that initiate lightning. In addition, they allow the
study of rare atmospheric phenomena such as, Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), and elves. In this talk, I will present some of the recent observations and their impact. I will also discuss the role of these cosmic ray detectors as the world's leading instruments for the detection of atmospheric electric fields, TGFs, and lightning initiation mechanisms. The successful use of ground based cosmic rays detectors, designed to study astrophysical phenomena, for the study of lighting in Earth's atmosphere attests to the vitality of this field of experimental research, which is now dedicated not only to solving the mysteries of the universe but also the mysteries of our own atmosphere.