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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 254795, 11 pages
Research Article

New Role of Thermal Mapping in Winter Maintenance with Principal Components Analysis

1CEREMA-DTer Est-ERA 31, 71 rue de la Grande Haie, 54510 Tomblaine, France
2School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
3Université de Lorraine-UMR GeoRessources, 54000 Nancy, France

Received 7 May 2014; Accepted 31 July 2014; Published 9 September 2014

Academic Editor: Hiroyuki Hashiguchi

Copyright © 2014 Mario Marchetti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thermal mapping uses IR thermometry to measure road pavement temperature at a high resolution to identify and to map sections of the road network prone to ice occurrence. However, measurements are time-consuming and ultimately only provide a snapshot of road conditions at the time of the survey. As such, there is a need for surveys to be restricted to a series of specific climatic conditions during winter. Typically, five to six surveys are used, but it is questionable whether the full range of atmospheric conditions is adequately covered. This work investigates the role of statistics in adding value to thermal mapping data. Principal components analysis is used to interpolate between individual thermal mapping surveys to build a thermal map (or even a road surface temperature forecast), for a wider range of climatic conditions than that permitted by traditional surveys. The results indicate that when this approach is used, fewer thermal mapping surveys are actually required. Furthermore, comparisons with numerical models indicate that this approach could yield a suitable verification method for the spatial component of road weather forecasts—a key issue currently in winter road maintenance.