The configuration of the three neutrino masses can take two forms, known as the normal and inverted hierarchies. We compute the Bayesian evidence associated with these two hierarchies. Previous studies found a mild preference for the normal hierarchy, and this was driven by the asymmetric manner in which cosmological data has confined the available parameter space. Here we identify the presence of a second asymmetry, which is imposed by data from neutrino oscillations. By combining constraints on the squared-mass splittings with the limit on the sum of neutrino masses of $\Sigma m_\nu < 0.13$ eV, we infer odds of 42:1 in favour of the normal hierarchy, which is classified as “strong” in the Jeffreys’ scale. We explore how these odds may evolve in light of higher precision cosmological data, and discuss the implications of this finding with regards to the nature of neutrinos.
F. Simpson, R. Jimenez, C. Pena-Garay, et. al.
Mon, 13 Mar 17
Comments: Submitted to JCAP