Expansion of the Sahara Desert (SD) and greening of the Arctic tundra-glacier region (ArcTG) have been hot subjects under extensive investigations. However, quantitative and comprehensive assessments of the landform changes in these regions are lacking. Here we use both observations and climate-ecosystem models to quantify/project changes in the extents and boundaries of the SD and ArcTG based on climate and vegetation indices. It is found that, based on observed climate indices, the SD expands 8% and the ArcTG shrinks 16% during 1950-2015, respectively. SD southern boundaries advance 100 km southward, and ArcTG boundaries are displaced about 50 km poleward in 1950-2015. The simulated trends based on climate and vegetation indices show consistent results with some differences probably due to missing anthropogenic forcing and two-way vegetation-climate feedback effect in simulations. The projected climate and vegetation indices show these trends will continue in 2015-2050.