Understanding regional-scale water resource systems requires understanding coupled hydrologic and climate interactions. The traditional approach in the hydrologic sciences and engineering fields has been to either treat the atmosphere as a forcing condition on the hydrologic model, or to adopt a specific hydrologic model design in order to be interoperable with a climate model. We propose here a different approach that follows a service-oriented architecture and uses standard interfaces and tools: the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) from the weather and climate community and the Open Modeling Interface (OpenMI) from the hydrologic community. A novel technical challenge of this work is that the climate model runs on a high performance computer and the hydrologic model runs on a personal computer. In order to complete a two-way coupling, issues with security and job scheduling had to be overcome. The resulting application demonstrates interoperability across disciplinary boundaries and has the potential to address emerging questions about climate impacts on local water resource systems. The approach also has the potential to be adapted for other climate impacts applications that involve different communities, multiple frameworks, and models running on different computing platforms. We present along with the results of our coupled modeling system a scaling analysis that indicates how the system will behave as geographic extents and model resolutions are changed to address regional-scale water resources management problems. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.