(1) Snow that has survived at least one ablation season but has not been transformed to glacier ice. This sense prevails in the study of mass balance. Snow becomes firn, by definition, at the instant when the mass-balance year ends. See zone. (2) Structurally, the metamorphic stage intermediate between snow and ice, in which the pore space is at least partially interconnected, allowing air and water to circulate; typical densities are 400830 kg m3. In this sense, the firn is generally up to a few tens of metres thick on a temperate glacier that is close to a steady state, and up to or more than 100 m thick in the dry snow zone on the ice sheets.