Expédition Glaciologique Internationale au Groenlande in 1957-1960 was a collaboration between Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland. Using aerial photographs, the expedition determined the rate of movement of all the outlet glaciers draining into Disko Bugt and Uummannaq Fjord. At the same time the production of calf ice was assessed, and the studies confirmed Sermeq Kujalleq’s unique role with regard to the production of calf ice.
After 1960, an important project was undertaken to determine the thickness of the Inland Ice and map the altitude of the ice surface and the topography of the landscape under the ice using airborne radar. More than 60,000 kilometres of profiles were collected over six seasons between 1968 and l976 - the first overall survey of the landscape under the Inland Ice. The survey was a breakthrough in the understanding of the dynamics and geomorphology of glaciers and ice sheets, and in climate research.
However, there was still a lack of detailed knowledge about the continuation of Kangia and the channel occupied by Sermeq Kujalleq beneath the margin of the Inland Ice. Some of this information has since been collected during investigations of the potential for using melt water for hydropower production. For this purpose a helicopter-borne radar technology was developed by the Technical University of Denmark, and modified by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. The most recent surveys of the thickness of the ice sheet around Sermeq Kujalleq were published in 2001.
Modern studies of the marginal areas of the Inland Ice are, to a large degree, based on data from satellites. Satellite monitoring of frontal changes has replaced aerial photography to some extent as it makes it possible to carry out repeated observations within a short time frame. The record of Sermeq Kujalleq’s development since 1932, established from aerial photographs, has been one of steady retreat until the 1950s. Then followed a period of relative stability until 2002, when satellite monitoring has documented a rapid retreat.