London, March 12 (ANI): A new research has predicted that global warming will have a devastating effect on the Amazon rainforest, shrinking it by 85 percent if there is a rise of 4 degree Celsius in the temperature.
According to a report in the Guardian, the research, by some of Britain's leading experts on climate change, shows that even severe cuts in deforestation and carbon emissions will fail to save the emblematic South American jungle.
Up to 85 percent of the forest could be lost if spiraling greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the experts said.
But, even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is "irreversible".
"The impacts of climate change on the Amazon are much worse than we thought," said Vicky Pope, of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, which carried out the study. As temperatures rise quickly over the coming century the damage to the forest won't be obvious straight away, but we could be storing up trouble for the future," Pope added.
Tim Lenton, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia, called the study, presented at a global warming conference in Copenhagen, a "bombshell".
"When I was young, I thought chopping down the trees would destroy the forest, but now it seems that climate change will deliver the killer blow," he said.
The study used computer models to investigate how the Amazon would respond to future temperature rises.
It found that a 2C rise above pre-industrial levels, widely considered the best case global warming scenario and the target for ambitious international plans to curb emissions, would still see 20-40 percent of the Amazon die off within 100 years.
A 3C rise would see 75 percent of the forest destroyed by drought over the following century, while a 4C rise would kill 85 percent.
"The forest as we know it would effectively be gone," Pope said.
"A temperature rise of anything over 1C commits you to some future loss of Amazon forest. Even the commonly quoted 2C target already commits us to 20-40 percent loss," said Chris Jones, who led the research.
"On any kind of pragmatic timescale, I think we should see loss of the Amazon forest as irreversible," he added.
According to Tony Juniper, an environmental campaigner, "There really is no time for delay. Governments must cooperate to cut industrial emissions while at the same time halting deforestation, otherwise we'll have a mass extinction and a global warming catastrophe." (ANI)