The Gulf Stream branch, either newly emerged or previously undiscovered, may be active around Russia's Novaya Zemlya archipelago, Federal Meteorological Service head Alexander Frolov announced in Moscow.
"This may be no Higgs boson, but this is important, too," he said. "But let's wait until we've analyzed the data better."
The discovery is significant because the arctic region governs Russian winter temperatures that in turn have a serious impact on the economy, Frolov said.
The Arctic Floating University, a program that may open its doors to foreign student next year, saw 25 Russian master's and postgraduate students take a 40-day tour of the Barents Sea, RIA Novosti reported.
The university ship, the Professor Molchanov, crisscrossed ice fields in the Barents Sea and gathered some 8,500 samples of water and seabed along the way between June 1 and July 10, expedition officials said.