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In glaciology and meteorology, ablation—the opposite of accumulation—refers to all processes that remove snow, ice, or water from a glacier or snowfield. Ablation refers to the melting of snow or ice that runs off the glacier, evaporation, sublimation, calving, or erosive removal of snow by wind. Air temperature is typically the dominant control of ablation with precipitation exercising secondary control. In a temperate climate during ablation season, ablation rates typically average around 2 mm/hr.
Ablation can refer either to the processes removing ice and snow or to the quantity of ice and snow removed.