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We consider linear time-varying channels with additive white Gaussian noise. For a large class of such channels we derive rigorous estimates of the eigenvalues of the correlation matrix of the effective channel in terms of the sampled time-varying transfer function and, thus, provide a theoretical justification for a relationship that has been frequently observed in the literature. We then use this eigenvalue estimate to derive an estimate of the mutual information of the channel. Our approach is constructive and is based on a careful balance of the tradeoff between approximate operator diagonalization, signal dimension loss, and accuracy of eigenvalue estimates.