Abstract : Local thermal therapies are increasingly used in the clinic for tissue ablation. During energy deposition, the actual tissue temperature is difficult to estimate since physiological processes may modify local heat conduction and energy absorption. Blood flow may increase during temperature increase and thus change heat conduction. In order to improve the therapeutic efficiency and the safety of the intervention, mapping of temperature and thermal dose appear to offer the best strategy to optimize such interventions and to provide therapy endpoints. MRI can be used to monitor local temperature changes during thermal therapies. On-line availability of dynamic temperature mapping allows prediction of tissue death during the intervention based on semi-empirical thermal dose calculations. Much progress has been made recently in MR thermometry research, and some applications are appearing in the clinic. In this paper, the principles of MRI temperature mapping are described with special emphasis on methods employing the temperature dependency of the water proton resonance frequency. Then, the prospects and requirements for widespread applications of MR thermometry in the clinic are evaluated.