Recent constrains on the sum of neutrino masses inferred by analyzing cosmological data, show that detecting a non-zero neutrino mass is within reach of forthcoming cosmological surveys. Such a measurement will imply a direct determination of the absolute neutrino mass scale.
Physically, the measurement relies on constraining the shape of the matter power spectrum below the neutrino free streaming scale: massive neutrinos erase power at these scales. However, detection of a lack of small-scale power from cosmological data could also be due to a host of other effects. It is therefore of paramount importance to validate neutrinos as the source of power suppression at small scales. We show that, independent on hierarchy, neutrinos always show a footprint on large, linear scales; the exact location and properties are fully specified by the measured power suppression (an astrophysical measurement) and atmospheric neutrinos mass splitting (a neutrino oscillation experiment measurement). This feature cannot be easily mimicked by systematic uncertainties in the cosmological data analysis or modifications in the cosmological model. Therefore the measurement of such a feature, up to 1% relative change in the power spectrum for extreme differences in the mass eigenstates mass ratios, is a smoking gun for confirming the determination of the absolute neutrino mass scale from cosmological observations. It also demonstrates the synergy between astrophysics and particle physics experiments.