Estimates of the annual production of calf ice from Sermeq Kujalleq rely primarily on knowledge of the flow velocity of the ice and the thickness and width of the calving front.
Major calving events, in which large segments of the glacier front detach, take place only a few times in the course of the summer. On the other hand, there is almost continuous calving of smaller pieces of ice from the ice front, and this can be observed all year round.
The process of calving is not yet fully understood. The most important trigger is probably the expansion of the crevasses in the bottom of the glacier, which develop as the glacier detaches from its substratum and begins to float in the fjord. At the same time the glacier is deformed by the effects of the tide on the floating segment, and the tide also induces de-coupling of the glacier from the cliffs on both sides of the fjord. The pressure of water filling the glacier crevasses further strengthens the loosening process.
In the period from March to October 1982, calving and iceberg production was closely followed using data from satellite remote sensing. Three major calving events occurred. The largest produced 14 tabular icebergs, with sizes up to 2 km by 1 km. This event resulted in the estimated discharge of 8.4 cubic kilometres of ice and a retreat of the glacier front by about 2 km, and was associated with the break-up of the sea ice in the inner part of Kangia. Another pronounced calving, with the detachment of large tabular icebergs, was observed in July 1985 when the outer 2 km of the floating part of Sermeq Kujalleq disintegrated in the course of just 45 minutes.
After calving in a normal summer, the glacier front gradually advances during the winter, since the front is supported and stabilised by the sea ice in the fjord. The seasonal movements of the glacier front were studied in the period 1962 to 1996, and the typical difference between the frontal positions in the summer and the winter was 2-3 km.