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Ice is lost at the edges of the glacier to icebergs, or to summer melting, and the overall shape of the glacier does not change much with time.
Impurities in the ice provide information on the environment from when they were deposited.
Some volcanic events that were sufficiently powerful to send material around the globe have left a signature in many different cores that can be used to synchronise their time scales.It can make some snow sublimate, leaving the top inch or so less dense.When the sun approaches its lowest point in the sky, the temperature drops and hoar frost forms on the top layer.These data can be combined to find the climate model that best fits all the available data. Coastal areas are more likely to include material of marine origin, such as sea salt ions.Greenland ice cores contain layers of wind-blown dust that correlate with cold, dry periods in the past, when cold deserts were scoured by wind.