Context. The relative importance of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) heating mechanisms in maintaining the temperature of the solar corona is not well constrained.
Aims. We aim to investigate the effects of the characteristic time scales of photospheric driving on the injection and dissipation of magnetic and kinetic energy within a coronal arcade.
Methods. We conducted three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations of complex foot point driving imposed on a potential coronal arcade. We modified the typical time scales associated with the velocity driver to understand the efficiency of heating obtained using AC and DC drivers. We considered the implications for the injected Poynting flux and the spatial and temporal nature of the energy release in dissipative regimes.
Results. For the same driver amplitude and complexity, long time scale velocity motions are able to inject a much greater Poynting flux of energy into the corona. Consequently, in non-ideal regimes, slow stressing motions result in a greater increase in plasma temperature than for wave-like driving. In dissipative simulations, Ohmic heating is found to be much more significant than viscous heating. For all drivers in our parameter space, energy dissipation is greatest close to the base of the arcade, where the magnetic field strength is strongest, and at separatrix surfaces, where the field connectivity changes. Across all simulations, the background field is stressed with random foot point motions (in a manner more typical of DC heating studies), and, even for short time scale driving, the injected Poynting flux is large given the small amplitude flows considered. For long time scale driving, the rate of energy injection was comparable to the expected requirements in active regions. The heating rates were found to scale with the perturbed magnetic field strength and not the total field strength.
Conclusions. Alongside recent studies that show that power within the corona is dominated by low frequency motions, our results suggest that, in the closed corona, DC heating is more significant than AC heating.