The term ‘mass balance’ is often used by glaciologists to describe the difference between all of the ice that is added to a glacier, and all of the ice the glacier loses over a period of time. Ice sheets and glaciers can lose mass due to melting, calving, evaporation, etc. They can gain mass from direct precipitation, avalanching, and windblown snow. The net result of all these outputs and inputs of ice are then the glacier’s mass balance.

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