The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) Coastal Ocean Observing and Prediction Program (SCOOP) is a multi-institution collaboration whose partners are working to implement a modular, distributed system for real-time prediction and visualization of the impacts of extreme atmospheric events, including storm surge and wind-driven waves. SCOOP Program partners are developing an interoperable network of modularized components (numerical models, information catalogs, distributed archives, computing resources and network infrastructure) linked by standardized interfaces. This service-oriented architecture (SOA) is emerging as a prototype open access, distributed virtual laboratory for oceanographic research and coastal applications. The SOA approach allows data integration from multiple platforms and enables the exchange of resources, tools, and ideas among a virtual community. The SOA framework consists of five layers: 1) a user interface; 2) an application and tools layer; 3) a management layer; 4) a resource access layer; and 5) physical resources all linked by cross-cutting services. The SOA layer components support several different use cases because they can be configured into a variety of workflows.