A simple model extending Lie algebraic techniques is applied to the analysis of thermodynamic vibrational properties of diatomic molecules. Local anharmonic effects are described by means of a Morse-like potential and the corresponding anharmonic bosons are associated with the SU(2) algebra. The total number of anharmonic bosons, fixed by the potential shape, is determined for a large number of diatomic molecules. A vibrational high-temperature partition function and the related thermodynamic functions are derived and studied in terms of the parameters of the model. The idea of a critical temperature is introduced in relation to the specific heat. A physical interpretation in terms of a quantum deformation associated with the model is given.