In urban water design and management, many hydrologic problems involve the frequency characterisation of rainfalls. Hydrologists are commonly asked to evaluate rainfall intensities for given recurrence frequencies or to indicate how rare an observed event is by estimating its return period. This study aims to improve the characterisation of rainfall hazard over a city by linking point to areal rainfall frequency analysis. We use a stochastic rainfall field generator based on the turning-bands method directly to assess areal rainfall distributions and to illustrate the link between different approaches. The simulating algorithm is applied to rainfall data from the city of Marseilles. The frequency analysis of simulated fields provides the elements to deal with the notions of return period and severity of observed storm events. The study concludes on the importance of a unified approach to assess rainfall better.

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