snow

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ablation

(1) combined processes (such as sublimation, fusion or melting, evaporation) which remove snow or ice from the surface of a glacier or from a snow-field; also used to express the quantity lost by these processes (2) reduction of the water equivalent of a snow cover by melting, evaporation, wind and avalanches.

accumulation

all processes by which snow or ice are added to a glacier, this is typically the accumulation of snow, which is slowly transformed into ice; other accumulation processes can include avalanches, wind-deposited snow, and the freezing of rain within the snow pack.

alpine layers

annual accumulations of snow and dust on a glacier.
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avalanche

mass of snow which becomes detached and slides down a slope, often acquiring great bulk by fresh addition as it descends.
An avalanche in motion. (Photograph courtesy of Richard Armstrong, National Snow and Ice Data Center.)
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blizzard

winds of at least 35 miles per hour along with considerable falling and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than one-quarter mile for a period of at least three hours (extremely cold temperatures are often associated with dangerous blizzard conditions, but are not a formal part of the modern definition).

blow hole

opening through a snow bridge into a crevasse or system of crevasses which are otherwise sealed by snow bridges; a snowdrift usuallly forms on the lee side.
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blowing snow

an ensemble of snow particles raised by the wind to moderate or great heights above the ground; the horizontal visibility at eye level is generally very poor.
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bottom temperature of snow cover

temperature measured at the base of the snow cover during mid- to late-winter (February/March).

cornice

an overhanging accumulation of ice and wind-blown snow, characteristically found on the edge of a ridge or cliff face.
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creep

a way that snow or ice can move by deforming its internal structure.
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