Lake Victoria, Africa's largest freshwater lake, suffers greatly from negative changes in biomass of species of fish and also from severe eutrophication. The continuing deterioration of Lake Victoria's ecological functions has great long-term consequences for the ecosystem benefits it provides to the countries bordering its shores. However, knowledge about temporal and spatial variations of optical properties and how they relate to lake constituents is important for a number of reasons such as remote sensing, modeling of underwater light fields, and long-term monitoring of lake waters. Based on statistical analysis of data from optical measurements taken during half a year of weekly cruises in Murchison Bay, Lake Victoria, we present a three-component model for the absorption and a two-component model for the scattering of light in the UV and the visible regions of the solar spectrum along with tests of their ranges of validity. The three-component input to the model for absorption is the chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), total suspended materials concentrations, and yellow substance absorption, while the two-component input to the model for scattering is the Chl-a concentration and total suspended materials.
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