A £4 million science project is being launched to understand the links between the world's largest rainforest and the climate.

The three-year programme funded by the Government's Newton Fund will bring together scientists and organisations from the UK and Brazil to examine the relationship between the Amazon rainforest and climate change.

Professor Stephen Belcher, director of the Met Office Hadley Centre which is leading the UK's contribution to the project, said: "The Amazon has a fascinating two-way relationship with the world's climate.

"The forest helps to regulate our climate by absorbing carbon dioxide, but it is also widely anticipated to be affected by increasing climate change.

"The research programme aims to understand more about the factors affecting the forest, such as land-use change and carbon stocks, and use these factors to improve global climate models."

The information will allow scientists to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the world's largest area of tropical forest and the rest of the planet.

He also said the research would examine the risks to Brazil posed by a changing climate and extreme weather.

Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "The Amazon rainforest is so rich in beauty and biology, and this £4 million programme will provide our world-leading scientists with a unique opportunity to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing mankind - climate change."